Back to School

How sweet the sight of newsprint widest ruled,
with alternating lines an inch apart.
On such a surface we were early schooled
to print our letters. Now as then we start
the kids with solid guidelines high and low,
a dotted middle line to help some more,
and deal out big red pencils; see them glow
in recollection through nostalgia’s door?

But Mom, I want to practice with a pen!
This fat red pencil’s too big for my hand.
Its lead so soft on newsprint sends a chill
through me, but worse than anything is when
I make mistakes. Why don’t you understand?
There’s no eraser, and I’m short on skill.

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