[Skip Navigation]

Plagiarist Poetry Sites: Plagiarist.com | Poetry X | Poetry Discussion Forums | Open Poetry Project | Joycean.org
Enter our Poetry Contest
Win Cash and Publication!

Visitors' Comments about:

Schoolroom On A Wet Afternoon

Vernon Scannell

Add a new comment.

Open the desk lid
Added by: Andrew Mayers
The last lines are sort of ambiguous. When I first read them many years ago I thought they were representative of what lies beneath the surface of the students’ innocence. They also, of course, SHOW the different fates awaiting some of these students in “the unmapped forests of the future”. Still, at least there is ‘English Grammar’ to cheer us.

Added by: anonymous
I'LL bet Scannell wrote both of these (Schoolroom... and Ageing Schoolmaster while sitting at the same desk in the same classroom) This one has a brilliantly conveyed sense of threat and a feel for the dark places in the human heart.
Added by: Geraldine
When I read this poem I thought Scannell was conveying the war and how many of the young boy's fates are uncertain because they will be sent to war. The last line uses makes use of a number of nouns to convey this.
Added by: AM
Yes, that makes sense. However, such an interpretation does seem to reduce it to an anti-war statement. Perhaps Scannell was thinking of war, but ‘the unmapped forests of the future’ is good precisely because it conveys that sense of uncertainty about what fate has in store for us. Perhaps innocence is a delusion – something we choose to believe over the reality of what is actually going on beneath the apparently guiltless exterior.
Added by: Peter Cumbers
I won't try to compete with the previous reviewer's poetic critiques of the poem, let me just say that I was one of those "diminutive breasts" who was taught English Literature by Vernon Scannell. I was in his class at shool, Clark's College, Ealing, London, and it is to him that I owe my love of Literature. He was the ideal schoolmaster, a love of his subject, an authoritarian figure and above all a very real person.
Added by: Adamos, King of The Grapes
I love the way that Scannell has used school as a primary loss of innocence and not something more obvious like ermm, a first wet dream hehe. However, for me, the thing that hits home is the deprivation of emotions he mentions, through a strict routine/institution. Its like Scannell has picked up on an indisputable flaw to which the education system was ignorant at the time; While these strict education enforcers prevent any social incident in the classroom, there is a far greater threat to enforcers than talking, and it grows and grows in each individual. (like the guilt that grows and grows "under the stair" in Scannell's 'A Case of Murder'). It's as if the deprivation of emotions are slowly being squeezed out of the heart, and into the brain enters pure hatred and voilent thoughts, just like squeezing the bottom of a partially deflated ballon and seeing the 'head' half swell. Nice metaphor don't ya think?
In other words, Scannell is a legend!
Schoolroom on a wet afternoon
Added by: Emma S
I thought the poem was more about the stifling effect of the classroom, the irrelevance of schooling and the superficial nature of the lessons learnt in the classroom.

In the final stanza, Scannell makes reference to the "HUMAN" heart and the desires and pains that surf the blood of the children. I think he is questioning the adult, and typically belittling, view of children. I have read the poem to be about the way in which this kind of schooling does not set children up for life. It only caters for the surface - for the rules of simple interest or grammar.

Emotions "break in darkness on the mental shore". The children are not given the tools to think or reason or make sense of their desires and passions.

For this reason, beneath the surface they are like loaded guns. They contain all these human emotions and pains as every adult does and they are unable to understand or make use of these unexplained feelings. The violence of the final line is not literal in my mind. It is far more subtle.
scannell 'schoolroom on a wet afternoon'
Added by: niall
Scannell has too much experience to believe that education of any sort can scrape away the unconscious depravity, and subconscious urgings of the human heart. He will have sat many times before pupils whom, although under control there, he knew would go on to be gallows meat. Sadly today there is so much libertarianism and political correctness in education that the most thuggish pupils are in control. There is no learning going on except that gentle children see that the most brutal ones nowadays rule not only the bike sheds but many classrooms too. The future Scannell sensed is here and no longer under the desk.

» Add a new comment.

« Return to the poem page.