And, honestly, everything about this poem is true!
He taught French,
Did Mr Morgan,
(And looked like Lurch
With a long, crumpled neck
Like a distressed factory chimney,
And a bright yellow streak of nicotine
Staining the bristling, white, flattop hair
Above eyebrows each as big as a badger),
Except on the last session on Fridays
When he couldn't be bothered.
Then he taught us
The derivation of our surnames,
Each one of the thirty-one of us,
One after another,
For forty minutes,
And how he'd once tackled De Gaulle
Before scoring the winning try
At the Stade de France
In nineteen thirty something.
The rest of the time,
When he could be bothered,
And in between snatched roll-ups
Furtively smoked between yellowing finger knuckles
In the school corridorTwice per lesson,
He'd rank us according to our inadequacies,
Separating out those who were merely stupid
From the utterly irredeemable,
And insisting that anyone named
Morgan in his class
Had to be the very best at French,
Or never be called other than "Higginbotham"
In his classroom.I was denied my own surname
For three years,
To everyone else's amusement,
Then escaped his brown-fingered clutches at fourteen,
And never looked at a French dictionary again.
Mr. Morgan is probably as dead as De Gaulle,
Lying there as perfectly smoked as a mackerel,
Pickled in nicotine,Tarred like a mummy,
And he's probably every bit as good a teacher
As he ever was.