No Class by James Taylor

with the no class
in the empty room,
abandoned chairs
shoved up against the old brown desks,
damp dusted until tomorrow
a wood pigeon in the sycamore
hooting for the sake of it.
I scanned the room slowly,
Steven, Nicola, Tracy, Paul,
gone away across the fields
yet held in the room,
shut in by closed, high windows.
Grey half-light seeping out
to leave deeper layers of silence,
the scrape of slates,
chapped hands, grazed knees,
chants and recitations,
the swish of the cane,
mumbled prayers and tears
held in the flaking walls
more than a hundred years,
each child left their
I never stayed too long
after dark.