It has been a long haul to leaving
And there is a strange kind of regret
For damp classrooms, store cupboards
With petri dishes, for graffiti stains
Left to fester over time,
For the foolish laughter of a distant child.
Pathways worn to dust, bare as old slippers,
And the secret mysterious places,
The cobweb-filled, derelict greenhouse
Full of the gravitas of long-dead things.
With the last flick of the light switch,
A pacing backwards into light, a sorrow descends
Almost as thick as grief, grief for the rooms,
For the long, silent, empty corridors,
For the time that slipped away, lost forever,
For the raucous shrieks, the vulgar catcalls,
For working late, besotted by the twilight,
Twenty years of muted conversation
And, best of all —
On the days when rain thrashed the windows
Grief for the heads-down, quite contented,
Steady hum of silence.