Mark Farley


On my way to the classroom
I passed the smallangry –
the smallangry fourth year
I’d seen hitting a bush.
The bush had done nothing.
It just sat there – bushing.
But the boy was smallangry.
He took it out on a branch.
Now he was surrounded
by six thirsty sixth years –
six thirsty sixth years
eager to tease.
And they told him to hit me,
to lash out and hit me,
to take out his anger
on me passing by.
He was twitchy and angry,
that smallangry fourth year,
and he did what they told him
to me passing by.
I could see his frustration,
that smallangry fourth year,
surrounded by sixth years
as I passed him by,
so I didn’t block him
as he lashed out at my shoulder.
And the sixth years made merry
at me passing by.
It’s the leaders and generals
who should answer for shoulders,
but we know it’s smallangry
who will go home and cry.

Copyright © Mark Farley

Mark Farley has been shortlisted and highly commended for the Bridport Prize. Find him on Twitter (@mumbletoes) or via his blog (


About sunnydunny

Poet, publisher, gardener
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