Today I started back at school
And heard about a brand new rule.
My teacher had an evil grin.
She said: “I’m going to keep you in
Till you can spell ‘Afghanistan’.
You won’t be leaving till you can.”
I heard her words with great dismay.
My friend and I had planned to play,
And since my spelling’s rather poor,
My chance of getting out the door
And going off to play with him
Seemed altogether rather slim.
But then my Afghan friend Khalil
Said: “I can guess how you must feel,
Because I often felt a failure
When I first tried to spell ‘Australia’.
Let’s work together as a team,
It’s not as hard as it might seem.”
We worked together, he and I.
He had a plan for me to try:
“I think,” he said, “you’ll find it best
To learn just ‘Afghan’, then the rest.
So let’s begin with ‘Af’ and ‘ghan’.
You’ll surely manage ‘is’ and tan’!”
Well, spelling ‘Af’ did not take long.
(He told me double f was wrong),
But as for ‘ghan’ I must beware,
Since silent h had crept in there!
But once he put me on my guard
Inserting h was not so hard.
I added then both ‘is’ and ‘tan’
And neatly wrote “Afghanistan”
Then when our turn had come to spell
Khalil and I performed so well
That in the end, despite her grin,
The teacher couldn’t keep us in.
- Submitted in response to Poetry Prompt #4
Monty says: “I started with the idea of a new rule for a new school year and since accurate spelling presents a significant challenge for many children (and adults!) decided to combine these two elements in the poem. It gave me an opportunity to add a dash of fruitful understanding and teamwork with someone from a different background.”