The Lesson

In Modern Studies

we built a shanty town.

We paraded outside

to the playground waving

plastic bags

and cardboard scraps

and the teacher split

us into families.

Mine ran to the railings

with our piece of blue tarpaulin

and pierced one end through the spikes.

We used broken tree branches as tent poles

for the rest and decorated

the entrance with daisies.

When we were finished

we stood back

to admire our creation then realised

only one person could fit inside.

So we took turns stooping low

and lying on the dirt floor,


until the roof collapsed

and the tarpaulin lay like an ocean

and the daisies cascaded downwards,


and we were no longer sheltered.