Look At That You Bastards!

I don’t want to sound mean or bitter
Come across like I’m holding a grudge
But those things are all true
So if I sound like I do
Please forgive me, and try not to judge

To the teachers at Denbigh who taught me
And threw up their arms in despair
Some things would be best
Were they off of my chest
So bear with me, and pull up a chair

I’ve spent most of my life, taking all of the blame
On young shoulders, now burdened with age
But I’m scratching my head
That maybe I’m misled
That my guilt could perhaps be assuaged

I know I was not a good pupil
And I’m sure I made your lives quite hard
A difficult child
Would be putting it mild
So I doubt I was the only one scarred

Why can’t you be more like your sister
She never caused us this grief
And I couldn’t explain
Which I found quite a shame
As I’d have probably felt some relief

But I was just a fucked up little boy
And you were the one’s so mature
For years you’d been trained
So I’d like to complain
‘Bout the beatings I had to endure

Agreed – I made stupid decisions
And that can’t have been easy to fix
But I’d have to oppose
The response that you chose
To repeatedly hit me with sticks

Hit me with slippers, trainers and canes
Again and again and again.
And then hit me some more
And then hit me some more
Expecting good things from the pain

I’m supposed to give you some leeway
That we lived then in different times
That I should let go
As you just didn’t know
And that I should leave all this behind

‘Never did me any harm’ is the line
That you hear with defiance and a twitch
Well it may not be yew tree
But those bastards hit me
Abuse or assault, not sure which.

‘Just act your age’ was the cry that I heard
In between those so regular shoe-ings
Which turned out to be tough
Ironically enough
As it turns out that’s what I was doing

If you ever delve into the science
Staged development of parts of the brain
The prefrontal cortex
And it’s calming effects
Makes my beatings seem quite inhumane

The part of the brain that says ‘let’s not do that’
Doesn’t work ‘right’ till you’re out of your teens
I couldn’t explain
Why I’d screwed up again
So to beat me seems a trifle obscene

Perhaps I was beyond any hope or redemption
That no motivation could have ever assisted
Or then and again
Something other than pain
Might have helped had you only persisted

I don’t understand how your mindset
Decided that that was the route
‘Just hit him some more
His performance will soar’
Your persistence at least I’d salute

Hope against hope to be sent to the head
Each time a beating was due
At least when he caned
He seemed genuinely pained
But the one who enjoyed it was you

Dunlop green flash – size eleven
I can see it and feel it today
Me bent over in front
You sadistic cunt
As you gleefully swung it away

Used to inflict as much pain as you could
They’d never been worn – didn’t fit
I knew at the time
That you wore a size nine
The elevens were bought specially – you shit.

While the welts and the weals faded slowly away
The shame and embarrassment remained
I just calmly observed
It was what I deserved
And that learning just wasn’t my game

Oddly enough, your motivation techniques
Didn’t transform my approach to my lessons
Felt I was no good
Left as soon as I could
And the impact it had never lessened

I’ve always been pretty successful in work
Positions of power – responsible roles
Never been unemployed
Had a career I’ve enjoyed
Fulfilled many professional goals.

I’d always thought I was quite clever
That I just couldn’t do it their way
But as I got older
That chip on my shoulder
Started gnawing and gnawing away

So I started to study, in my thirties, part time
And oddly enough, it was tough
But quite amazingly
I got me a degree
Leaving me feeling stupidly chuffed

So could I possibly go one stage farther?
Could I build even more in my plans?
Last weekend in Ely
Will live with me dearly
As I walked cross the stage and shook hands

So all that is left is for me to just hope that
You’re ashamed – you sadistic bastards
No thanks to you
With your canes and tennis shoes
Now I’ve gone and got me a masters.

(c) Michael Gurner June 2019

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