The Lesson

The lesson

This poem is inspired by true events but is in no way factually accurate.

The Lesson

By Ron Barton


He’s crying because he’s nervous.
It’s a different class
in a different pool
with a different teacher.
It’s sweet, endearing,
but it’s also annoying;
he’s the only one in tears.


She’s the opposite.
She’s excited, happy.
Maybe it’s an age thing,
she is two years older after all.


We watch from the sidelines.
Each time an exercise finishes
she looks at us, smiling
a smile that says, “look at me”.
We do
but we look at her brother more.
He struggles at first;
his inhibitions are anchors
but each successful stroke
cuts one of the ties that’s holding him back.
His smile returns
and, with it,
his overconfidence.
Before he knows it he’s swum too far.
When he realises the water is too deep
for him to stand
the tears come flooding back.
We watch,
not wanting to interfere
in case our actions
become inhibitors
but ready
should the need arise.
She notices his cries, however,
and is soon by his side
helping him edge
toward the shallows.
She looks at us, smiling
a smile that says, “look at him”.
We do
but he’s fine now
so we look at her more.
Then, when it ends,
they come out of the water together.

Your poem

Are you a writer of poetry? Then your poem could be featured at our website too! Please make sure you register as a user for this website and submit your poem.

Submit your poem

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

The contact form of this website was disabled. The project "The Ministry of Poetic Affairs" is no longer an active project. See for more information:

%d bloggers like this: