A Hope For Poetry: Remembering The Sixties by Barry Tebb

There was a hope for poetry in the sixties

And for education and society, teachers free

To do as they wanted: I could and did teach

Poetry and art all day and little else -

That was my way.

I threw rainbows against the classroom walls,

Gold and silver dragons in the corridors and

Halls; the children’s eyes were full of stars;

I taught the alphabet in Greek and spoke of

Peace and war in Vietnam, of birth and sex and

Death and immortality - the essences of lyric poetry;

Richards and Ogden on ‘The Meaning of Meaning’,

Schopenhauer on sadness, Nietzsche and Lawrence on

Civilisation and Plato on the Theory of Forms;

I read aloud ‘The Rainbow’ and the children drew

The waterfall with Gudrun bathing, I showed

Them Gauguin and Fra Angelico in gold and a film

On painting from life, and the nude girls

Bothered no-one.

It was the Sixties -

Art was life and life was art and in the

Staff-room we talked of poetry and politics

And passionately I argued with John. a clinical

Psychologist, on Freud and Jung; Anne, at forty

One, wanted to be sterilised and amazingly asked

My advice but that was how it was then: Dianne

Went off to join weekly rep at Brighton, Dave

Clark had given up law to teach a ‘D’ stream in the

Inner city. I was more lucky and had the brightest

Children - Sheila Pritchard my genius child-poet with

Her roguish eye and high bright voice, drawing skulls

In Avernus and burning white chrysanthemums, teasing me

With her long legs and gold salmon-flecked eyes.

It was a surprise when I made it into Penguin Books;

Michael Horovitz busy then as now and madly idealistic

As me; getting ready for the Albert Hall jamboree,

The rainbow bomb of peace and poetry.

by Barry Tebb

Other poems by 'Barry Tebb'

The Dreamer, The Sleep

Without The Wherewithall

To Leeds Big Issue Sellers

Our Son

To The Sound Of Violins


Infamous Poet

Pulled From A Life Some Leaves

In Harm’s Way

Coming To Terms With Schizophrenia