M. T. Kettle

M. T. Kettle

I had a friend called M. T. Kettle
and he was one of those boys
who thought they were very,very clever
and always made a lot of noise.

Alas, he had an empty head
but the teachers set him right.
They drilled a hole in his empty head
and filled it with homework every night.

Each day in class when they tested him
hot tears fell from his eye.
It was such a shame
when they called out his name
to watch that young boy cry.


In our school, education
was like filling M. T.’s head.
The masters took notebooks filled with ideas
from white males (mainly dead),
and told us stories of their own past glories,
We would have liked fresh thoughts instead.


We sat in a classroom, row upon row,
our pencils in our hands,
and took dictation about every nation
that had passed through colonial hands.


“Now knowledge, boys, is in your notes,”
that’s what one master said.
“I read them out, you write them down,
they never pass through anyone’s head.”

10 thoughts on “M. T. Kettle

  1. My school book is still in manuscript form and it is on my computer. I will publish it one day. It is perfectly harmless, but quite humorous and nobody is mentioned by name, only be deeds that probably only I remember. I’ll send you the ms. if you want to read it. As for our grand-parents and parents, as Molière once famously said “If it wasn’t for some of their more scandalous behavior, none of us would be here now.”


  2. Hilarious, John: the names and nicknames of some of my former teachers were running through my head as I wrote M. T. Kettle. The memories are indeed priceless AND I have written a book of them, about 60 pages long. Doubly hilarious.


    • Roger, I hesitate, but not for long, to ask where we might find this wonderful little book. You’ve got me interested. I might also expand that smidgen above and give much more detail in my own little autobiography, which is far too warm to be easily shared, like a few of my books.
      I actually immortalized my grandparents in the last erotic story I wrote (a love story, called ‘The Belvedere), but one day I may bite the bullet, before I kick the bucket. No one is left to take exception to the liberties I took, and I know that their lives were nothing liked the events I described (they were far too uptight, and would not have approved), though they did manage to produce about six children, so they weren’t at all backward. Nothing else to do in those days.
      Did I just put another shameless plug in there?


  3. The names of the teachers parade through my head. It was like the quartermaster’s store, reciting their names: ‘Plug’, Boney, Bogey, Lulu (music teacher), Spike, Daddy, Bish (tales of India and bodies sitting up in the middle of a funeral pyre, and him being told to knock them back down with a long pole), Pox-a-lotty, Sam, Max, Alf (gosser–he spluttered when he got excited), Fumbling Francis (we distracted him by blowing an air bubble into the gas lines. When it migrated to the only lit bunsen–his–the burner went out. He never did figure it out. We got him so distracted once, that he emptied a chemistry experiment out through the safety tube and onto the ceiling.) Nero, Ken. And then the irrepressible Latin master who also taught religion to the little Heathens (he called us that, once) who said, all in one smooth breath.’And the Lord said unto Moses, Stabler boy, get out!). We also had our own words to the various hymns each morning; serves them right, they made us sing, so they got the results.
    And the boarders, who watched the antics of the headmaster at night, when he went along to Matron’s room to consult heatedly with her….
    Priceless memories.


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