Somewhere, Mr Gray, I hope you are living yet,
vibrant student teacher, soaring high
with a hawk that rose in the sunlit air,
pulling me up in a powerful thermal of beauty,
lifted forever from the withering bitter mist
that rimmed our frontier town, like
the green scum on the pensioned-off canal.
Nearly fifty years have passed
since you hooked a ragged kid at Windsor Hill,
pulled him surely into your rhythmic net,
and left him trembling on an endless bank,
gulping the breath of coldly-crafted passion
that streams from the mountains of poetic minds.
And until now I never offered thanks
for the gift of knowing words could set me free;
yet still I hear the hiss of a hunter's wings
and wonder if you ever noticed me.


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This piece is dedicated to Mr Gray, a young teacher on his training placement at my primary school, who brought poems alive in the classroom and gave me a priceless gift which has been at the centre of my life ever since - a love of poetry