I see them in the morning
backpacks heavy behind them
hopes somewhere ahead

I was one of them once
in cap and blue serge suit
with school badge and kitbag
sometimes hoping to walk on forever
other times just hoping
that what we had to do
was worth doing
sometimes just walking
towards the end of the day

I remember a morning a few years ago
when I forced Jack to go to class
he could have done the work online
but the principle was the thing I thought
I still see him disappearing down the hall
and  relive my regret at having humbled him
I was right but it doesn’t help
the backpack is a kind of obligation