English/Squash Teacher, New York, N.Y. 1974-2008 - Ron Singer

(part four of four poems entitled 'Colleagues')

Speaking of teachers, jusqu’au bout des nails,
this logo-meister, this master of words,
spouted for fifty years, a language whale.
Through classroom walls, Stentor’s voice could be heard
(though he used neither mike nor megaphone).
“ ‘Dative’? No! Front-leaning rest position!”
the former M.P. would bark. “You morons!”

He’d also bark at himself --“Fat old man!”--
when he became too slow to reach a shot
on the squash court. We played thirty-odd years,
my mentor and I. Knowledge sweetly bought.
His idiom, profane, his thinking, pure,
to our weak pablum culture, a shock cure.
“You slackers will pay. Of that, rest assured!”