I found my corner, made it my shelter,
became my station, behind my back the wall.
I had studied introversion.
I knew why I was silent,
a witness, baffled by it all.
Could not partake in light conversation.
What did they find to say?
At least I was a good listener,
a sounding board, a rock amid the spray.
We had to read about the Romans,
how they marched over our land,
come to extend their empire,
the conquest Caesar planned.
They built a wall to keep out the Picts
who had skin dyed blue with woad.
I did not care for Romans
nor how they made a road.
We learned that Wellington won at Waterloo,
to exile Napoleon Bonaparte.
I preferred to hear of those
who gave all they had to art.
I flicked through my mouldy history book,
sat at my inky desk, my vigour sapped.
Its pages dull yellow and grey,
which seemed appropriate and apt.
Each chapter made it clear
how bad it was in the past,
not that the present was much better,
and peace never seemed to last.
Some still wait for a better day
that may never come,
others are in despair,
like a buccaneer on a burning ship,
the final taste on his tongue,
fire, smoke and rum.