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Portrait of the Artist as a Lone Tree

Stories and Visions

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The hockey mask

(Actual event, Sheffield, 1982.)
Click to hear (.mp3)

“Now I’m a racist,” sighed the sad young man.
“They told me so today.
And if I want to work in Sociology,
that’s how it is, and how it has to stay.

The lecturer said, unless you state it plain,
before this group, your peers,
then I will throw you off this course denying you
all hope of Sociological careers.”

“Well that’s outrageous, friend,” I spluttered back.
“Of what were you accused?
For every statement made must have its case explained
before your name’s summarily abused.”

“My face is white,” he sighed, “that’s all she’d say.
She needs no facts at call.
For white men made the world this way, she says, and so
the lot of us are guilty, one and all.”

What would you do? Object, and lose your place?
Make some abortive stand?
Or read the words required before the foreigners
whose presence has inspired this mad command?

“I’m late,” he sighed, “another time we’ll talk;
I’ve got to mind the goal.”
And so he went, to wear again the hockey mask
that covered up the torture in his soul.

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