Old Exercise Books and the Need to Listen

“So now I tell you not do to what I used to do,
And I think you always knew
That I used to do it too:
Writing the names of girls
(Where art thou, Pamela?)
And football players,
(But why Ken Skeen?)
And all the words to Yellow Submarine,
And names like The Small Faces and The Who
On my 4th form Latin vocab book,
Just as we’d all steal a look,
Watching the 5th form girls play tennis,
As we’d all sit, hot and listless,
(I suppose the case was accusative,
It certainly wasn’t live and let live),
So much better than Virgil and the ablative absolute,
With a teacher helpless like King Canute,
Before long waves of chalk
And all the hands of a slow moving clock,
While we wished the time away
Until Saturday

But just to emphasise the need to listen in class rather than doodle – what if you missed the piece below? Then your education would be incomplete.

First they came for the gypsies
Then they came for the Jews
I stood and watched in ignorance
Cos I was free to choose
They rounded up the handicapped
And then turned on the gays
The smell of rotting corpses
Was in the air for days
I looked along our village street
Not a soul was out
We all ignored the carnage
We knew of it no doubt
I am not a Nazi
But I may as well have been
As human beings we have failed
And that is just obscene
These things will never leave us
We all turned a blind eye
We never lifted a finger to help
We all knew they would die
I’m ashamed to be a German
That’s easy now to say
But I can say with honesty
I think of them every day
Why did we do nothing?
I don’t know what we feared
Some of us objected
They just disappeared
I wish I’d died along with them
I then would have some peace
To have stood there and done nothing
It beggars all belief
I have to live in sorrow
With what and could have been
But I never lifted a finger to help
So I’m not a human being!!!


This is obviously not a football poem. But on Saturday April the 9th the Romany people celebrate Roma Day. It will also be the very first time that they have been able to get attention of more than a few passing lines in the press about the number of Gypsies murdered in the death camps by the Nazi’s. We all think, and quite rightly so of the devastation to the Jewish, disabled and homosexual communities being almost destroyed, but few people care or dare to mention the fate of the Romany community. So there will be a commemeration fof Roma victims who died in the death camps in London tomorrow, Saturday at St James’s Church 197 Piccadilly at noon.

I’ve put this up cos you did a 60th Holocaust day poetry posting on the site and this is a belated poem related to that, the poem is seen through the eyes of a German villager who stood, watched and did nothing!!!

Thanks for taking the time to read this.



(Just cleared out all me old exercise books from me mum’s – just kept two. Easy to knock school knowledge – but the above from Kevin shows how important education is.)

Source: http://footballpoets.org/news/2005/05/01/old-exercise-books-and-the-need-to-listen/