17 March 2008

Better Man Than I Gunga Din


I have that photograph somewhere –
smoking cigarettes at school beside the
art room stump; it was our lunchtime
deal, being cool, rolling spare, eccentric
‘durries’ which we smoked with great
aplomb. We four declared a neutral
zone where rules were let abide, even
prefects did not chide us for our sins.
I remember Gunga Din once said we
only used his rooms for deeds nefarious,
Art was scarcely part of our domain. He
shared a fine rapport with us and gave
us room to try the roles we played. To
this day I’d say we learned them well
enough to make the grade. He praised
a picture I once painted as a worthy
piece – said a poem that accompanied
it was worded well. I believed him then
but knew that words were truly my forte.
Today these words are praise for him...
© 28 February 2008, I. D. Carswell

Gunga Din was our art teacher’s nickname.
But we usually called him Graham.