The teacher said:
Come here, Malcolm!
Look at the state of your book.
Stories and pictures unfinished
Wherever I look.
This model you started at Easter,
These plaster casts of your feet,
That graph of the local traffic –
All of them incomplete.
You’ve a half-baked pot in the kiln room,
And a half-eaten cake in your drawer.
You don’t even finish the jokes you tell –
I really can’t take anymore.
And Malcolm said
… very little.
He blinked and shuffled his feet.
The sentence he finally started
He gazed for a time at the floorboards;
He stared for a while into space;
With an unlined, unwhiskered expression
On his unfinished face.
Allan Ahlberg Heard it in the Playground 1991