I was young and restless; my love-life a stagnant pond;
I had a vague sort of yearning to see the world beyond,
Beyond the limits of a staff-room in a regular city school.
I wanted to breathe some different air, obey some different rule.
I sat there at the table; a stranger took a chair,
And then we started chatting about her country 'over there'.
She was a temporary teacher, on leave for just a while,
And whenever she mentioned her country she did so with a smile.
She painted, in glowing colours, the freedom and the sun,
The people and the climate, the laughter and the fun.
As she spoke I felt more restless, more eager to spread my wings,
To leave behind old London and a lot of other things.
She told me how I could organise such a momentous change;
Loose-ends I would have to tie! So much to arrange!
But, even as we spoke there, over a cup of tea,
I realised something important was happening to me.
I was last to leave the staffroom; briefly I was alone.
I took a deep breath and crossed the room and picked-up the telephone.
(The year? 1956. The destination? Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe.)
Rather a different view here: