When I was very  young, I  clearly remember not speaking a word of English. My older brothers would laugh and ask my mum, “What did Viv just say?” I thought they were the odd ones. Needless to say, my mum- being a teacher herself,  fixed everything. I read the entire ‘Jack and Jill series, as well as a few others. Those were painful reading times!


Six year old me sits at my mother’s feet
while she creates magic on her sewing machine
I know it’s time to read and spell again
I hate both.
Jack and Jill went up the hill
but no – mum wants me to spell every word too!
I hear the sounds of other kids playing outside
but I must follow Jack and Jill all the way down
the hill- stumbling over nouns and adjectives
all the while repeating their words
trying to make sense of it all
until I must have sounded mad
Every night- for a year
I sat at mum’s feet and learned a new tongue
It was the year I learned English

                                                        ©Vivian Zems

                                         Poets United  Mid week Motif- Literacy