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He Always Wanted to Say Things

Here is a poem I wanted to share. I find it very emotional and it means a lot to me. I first saw it on the staff room noticeboard of a children’s nursery when I was a student there.

It was attributed to R Nukerji – but I cannot confirm this was the original writer. Recent research suggests it was written by a Canadian student who commited suicide shortly after handing the poem in to his teacher. I think this might be “media hype”:  it does not detract – or add – to the message within the poem.

It has no official title other than its first line – so here is –

He always wanted to say things, but no-one understood.

He always wanted to say things but no one understood.
He always wanted to explain things but no one cared.

So he drew.

Sometimes he would just draw and it wasn’t anything.
He wanted to carve it in stone or write it in the sky.
He would lie out on the grass and look up at the sky and it
would be only him and the sky, and the things that needed saying.

And it was after that, that he drew the picture.
It was a beautiful picture.
He kept it under the pillow and would let no one see it.
He would look at it every night and think about it.
And when it was dark, and his eyes were closed, he could still see it.
It was all of him and he loved it.

When he started school he brought it with him.
Not to show anyone, but just to have like a friend.

It was funny about school.
He sat in a square, brown desk, like all the other square, brown desks,
and he thought it should be red.
And his room was a square, brown room like all the other rooms.
It was tight and close. And stiff.

He hated to hold the pencil, and the chalk, with his arm stiff
and his feet flat on the floor,  with the teacher watching
and watching.
And then he had to write numbers.
And they weren’t anything.
They were worse than the letters which could be something
if you put them together.
Ad the numbers were tight and square and he hated the whole thing.

The teacher came and spoke to him.
She told him to wear a tie like all the other boys.
He said he didn’t like them and she said it didn’t matter.
After that they drew.
He drew all yellow and it was the way he felt about morning.
And it was beautiful.

The teacher came and smiled at him.
“What’s this?”, she said.
“Why don’t you draw something like Ken’s drawing?
Isn’t it beautiful?”
It was all questions.

After that his mother bought him a tie and he always drew
aeroplanes and rocket ships like everyone else.
And he threw the old picture away.
And when he lay out alone looking at the sky it was big and blue and
all of everything, but he wasn’t any more.

He was square inside and brown, and his hands were stiff,
and he was like anyone else.
And the thing inside him that needed saying didn’t need saying anymore.

It had stopped pushing.
It was crushed, stiff.
Like everything else.


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