For some years, I wrote a monthly poem for SOUTHWELL MINSTER magazine. (Southwell Minster was built 1108-1300 and is very beautiful). Amongst the other poems, I also wrote a series of ‘Miss McPherson and her class’ poems and really enjoyed writing them just as much, it seemed, as people enjoyed reading them. ‘Harry’ in the poem below, appears in quite a few of the Miss McPherson poems and became a character I was very fond of. But I was just as fond of the other children who appeared, always taking me by surprise with their very different natures. Burton Lomax was initially a bit of an enigma. Not so with Harry! He roared into life and stayed there.
LOVE ONE ANOTHER?!
Harry said, ‘Please, Miss,
You know what Jesus told us
About loving one another
Like, you know, a sister or a brother?’
Miss McPherson said, ‘I do.’
‘Well,’ Harry went on, ‘I think
The Bible got it wrong.
It should have said,
Only love one another as long
As it isn’t Burton Lomax.
Because,’ Harry was unsteady,
‘If I saw a lion, Miss McPherson,
I’d point to that Burton Lomax person
And say, ‘There, lion, your lunch is ready.’
Chad stood up and said
He’d thought this ‘love’ thing through.
‘What Jesus meant,’ Chad said,
‘Was love one another when it’s good old Chad,
But not to bother, Harry, when it’s you.’
‘No! No! No!’ Miss McPherson roared,
‘When Jesus said ‘Love one another as I love you,’
That, Chad, is exactly what He meant.
Even if that other person is not now,
Nor ever will be, Harry, anything like a friend.
For Jesus knew that if we love Him first
And love Him best,
To love one another, especially Burton Lomax,
Will be the one thing we really want to do.’
‘?!?’ Harry almost asked.
But, ‘?!?’ said Burton Lomax.
© GWEN GRANT