Roger McGough

(November 9 - 1937 / Liverpool / England)

First Day At School - Poem by Roger McGough

A millionbillionwillion miles from home
Waiting for the bell to go. (To go where?)
Why are they all so big, other children?
So noisy? So much at home they
Must have been born in uniform
Lived all their lives in playgrounds
Spent the years inventing games
That don't let me in. Games
That are rough, that swallow you up.

And the railings.
All around, the railings.
Are they to keep out wolves and monsters?
Things that carry off and eat children?
Things you don't take sweets from?
Perhaps they're to stop us getting out
Running away from the lessins. Lessin.
What does a lessin look like?
Sounds small and slimy.
They keep them in the glassrooms.
Whole rooms made out of glass. Imagine.

I wish I could remember my name
Mummy said it would come in useful.
Like wellies. When there's puddles.
Yellowwellies. I wish she was here.
I think my name is sewn on somewhere
Perhaps the teacher will read it for me.
Tea-cher. The one who makes the tea.

Comments about First Day At School by Roger McGough

  • (10/7/2015 12:19:00 AM)

    excellent work of a poem-cher (Report) Reply

    23 person liked.
    12 person did not like.
  • Susan Williams (10/6/2015 3:11:00 PM)

    Captures the innocence and charm of children (Report) Reply

  • (10/6/2015 11:21:00 AM)

    whimsically sweet..... (Report) Reply

  • Kenneth Maswabi (10/6/2015 9:54:00 AM)

    Creative imagination. I like very much. Thank you. (Report) Reply

  • (10/6/2015 9:52:00 AM)

    Quirky in it's originality. Finger-on-the-button imagry relative to that TREMBLY day! !
    Only MacGough could summon such vividly off kilter sentiments. Evident in ALL His stuff! !
    (Report) Reply

  • Bharati Nayak (10/6/2015 8:20:00 AM)

    The first day in the school has a lasting impression in the life of a child.It may be a mixed feelings of happiness, fear and imagination.The poem is a lovely read with some interesting lines expressing the child's impression about the school, teacher and lessons. (Report) Reply

  • Anil Kumar Panda (10/6/2015 7:44:00 AM)

    Mind rushes back to my school days that I miss a lot reading this poem. Very nice. (Report) Reply

  • Rajnish Manga (10/6/2015 5:23:00 AM)

    It has been a great fun to read the poem. It reminds me of my days, though not essentially the first one, spent in my school. The imagery is just wonderful. To quote a few lines will make it clear:
    Must have been born in uniform / And the railings / All around, the railings / Are they to keep out wolves and monsters? ... / Tea-cher. The one who makes the tea.
    (Report) Reply

  • .., Rahman .., Henry (10/6/2015 1:51:00 AM)

    Very nice poem, I'm charmed with. (Report) Reply

  • Jaishree Nair (8/18/2015 7:13:00 AM)

    First day at school vividly defined. Enjoyed. Keep writing (Report) Reply

  • (6/23/2015 11:08:00 AM)

    Lessin means what?? (Report) Reply

  • (4/12/2015 6:29:00 AM)

    Very nice (Report) Reply

  • (2/22/2015 10:47:00 AM)

    Ah! really remembering the first school days..........wearing a flowery raincoat in never ending drizzle.....beautiful........ (Report) Reply

  • (2/17/2015 11:13:00 PM)

    so much interesting poem. (Report) Reply

  • (6/17/2014 11:19:00 PM)

    ..........the feeling of the first day of school is captured nicely....enjoyed... (Report) Reply

  • (4/6/2014 1:48:00 AM)

    The theme opted for the poem is world wide accepted reality of a human being of this time and future times where the children have to face a day the first day to school which could not forgotten in a lifespan one gets in this world. The day starts to the journey of education life of the little one and through this journey there will be several bushes and trees which may have thorns and good fruits as well as streams and rivers to cross. The first day to school is very much amusing to remember when it pertains to an old man who have joined in a village school with accompany of father or mother or guardian of near relation one remembers. The new books dresses, the smell of new ones and the new faces of children around him in school, the crying ones, the story telling ones, the bags of different colours all are amusing and interesting. The poet had done the poem very well and it is very interesting to read. (Report) Reply

  • (3/5/2014 1:26:00 PM)

    Honestly I’m not to much of a poetry person, but I like the poem «first day at school» by Roger McGongh, because we can feel what the child feels, can see the world through his eyes. Also I find this poem amazing because Roger Mcgongh uses strange words as such glassroom, lessin and millionbillionwillion. It makes the poem interesting and unusual for us. This poem describes the feelings and emotions of the child, who goes to school for a first time. The child feels fear. I think that he was afraid, because he was 5 years old. In America children go to school at the age of 5 years. And in Russia children go to school at the age of 6-7 years old, so they feel more confident, than American children. As for me, I remember my first day at school. Unlike this child I wasn’t afraid and felt confident, because my mother told me only good things about the school and because I was a sociable and friendly child. I liked my first teacher and I found new friends at once. I believe that children shouldn't go to school too early because they aren't psychologically ready for it (Report) Reply

  • (2/19/2014 11:52:00 AM)

    Honestly, I'm not too much a poetry person, but I like poem First day at school that was written by Roger McGough, because it's full of strange words such as millionbillionwillion glassrooms that make this poem different from others, so it's very unusual. This poem describes feeling of a boy, who goes at school for the first time, so we can see the world through his eyes, that's why this poem makes me feel nostalgic, I remember my first day at school...but unlike this child I was not scared of teachers and children in the high school did not seem to me so big, I knew what do classroom and lesson mean, because I went to a kindergarten where we had lessons and my mother told me different things about school. I quickly made ??friends because I was very sociable and friendly child, and our teacher was cute, that's why I had nothing to fear.
    In America children go to school at the age of 5 or even 4.. I went to the kindergarten in this age, so that's this boy missed his mother and was afraid of school, he is very small.
    I'm fond of this poem and I'd read something like that.
    (Report) Reply

  • (2/18/2014 12:20:00 PM)

    This poem didn't touch me at all, to tell the truth. My memories of the first school day are completely different. Children were not so big and teachers not so terrible. And I didn't miss my mum. I think our disagreements are connected with geographic factors: Russian children start school later than American ones, so they are more confident and psychologically prepared for school. That is why it is not so dramatic for them. The method of using the wrong words can seem interesting at first sight but in my opinion it is not suitable because the general tone of this poem is not so childish. Maybe I didn't understand the message of the poem but anyway this is not for me. (Report) Reply

  • (2/17/2014 10:48:00 AM)

    The poem attracts the reader’s attention by its childness and innocence. How striking the child’s fear at the first day at school is described. On the one hand, the reader can laugh throughout the poem because of the wrong spelling of some words (willion, glassrooms, lessin) by the character. On the other hand, the reader can feel sympathetic to the child as he is afraid of the uncommon world of a school, classrooms, lessons, teachers and pupils: everything in this world is alien to him, so the child is confused. (Report) Reply

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Read poems about / on: teacher, children, running, home, remember, school, child

Poem Submitted: Friday, January 3, 2003

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