Female student in school corridor reports another student’s conversation: ‘I’ve got a Johnny in my pocket if you fancy a fuck.’ There’s a loose assonance & alliteration here, a loose pentameter. I actually overheard this a couple of weeks ago, but I have been unable to forget it because of the rhythm of the speech as much as the sentiment. I felt I was suddenly in a Robert Frost poem, drawn by the live rhythm of a phrase.

But all this talk of rhythm shouldn’t overhadow the sentiment itself: so full of bravado, an outrageous punchline to a story that I, as a teacher, was meant to overhear and be shocked at–the ‘inappropriate language’, the implied story of casual sex.

I sometimes wish I could tell them that their words are poetry.