Teacher’s Pests

The teacher has mice in his cupboard:

They’ve chewed on maps of Waterloo,

They’ve gnawed a hole in Napoleon’s hat

And left droppings on page 52.


The teacher has rats in his floorboards:

There’s the smell of their night time vapours

They’ve picked great holes in the skirting board

And torn up his question papers.


The teacher has wild horses in his desk:

They’ve kicked and smashed his drawers,

They’ve broken out and galloped to freedom

Through the scratched and splintered doors.


The teacher has worms in his whiteboard:

They’ve tunnelled through every crack,

They’ve dug their winding canals and now pause

To discuss their next plan of attack.


The teacher has birds in the ceiling:

They’ve pecked at the cobwebbed windows

They’ve nested behind the inkstained pipes

Near to where the icy wind blows.


The teacher has gorillas on the roof:

They rip up the tiles, steal the gutters;

They leap in a frenzy and shriek and cackle,

Then escape in a gaggle of splutters.


The teacher says they’re a menagerie:

We don’t see them but we know they are there.

We hear them, we smell them, we know them,

See their footprints on every stair.


The teacher says all of them should be in a zoo

Or extinct, they’re so thoughtless and cruel.

So it’s time to stand up and fight back against

These pests who are wrecking our school.


Jeff Gallagher

Jeff Gallagher is from Sussex, UK. His poems have featured in publications such as Rialto, The High Window and The Journal. He has had numerous plays for children performed nationwide. He was the winner of the Carr Webber Prize 2021. He has been a teacher of English and Latin. He also appeared in an Oscar-winning movie. He has no handles.