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Poem introduction

I think this poem has something to do with the psychological state of teachers. Imagine you're a child in a class and you ask your teacher five questions during a day - that's not very many is it, five - but if there are thirty of you that makes 150 questions a day, 750 questions a week, 3,000 questions a month, and if we say ten months in the year, that's 30,000 questions a year. If a teacher teaches for ten years, that's 300,000 questions. And this of course explains the situation which most children understand which is that all school teachers are crazy.

Please Mrs Butler

Please Mrs Butler

Please Mrs Butler
This boy Derek Drew
Keeps copying my work, Miss.
What shall I do?

Go and sit in the hall, dear.
Go and sit in the sink.
Take your books on the roof, my lamb.
Do whatever you think.

Please Mrs Butler
This boy Derek Drew
Keeps taking my rubber, Miss.
What shall I do?

Keep it in your hand, dear.
Hide it up your vest.
Swallow it if you like, my love.
Do what you think best.

Please Mrs Butler
This boy Derek Drew
Keeps calling me rude names, Miss.
What shall I do?

Lock yourself in the cupboard, dear.
Run away to sea.
Do whatever you can, my flower.
But don't ask me!


from Please Mrs Butler (Penguin, 1983), copyright © Allen Ahlberg 1983, used by permission of the author and the publisher.

Books & cds by Allan Ahlberg