Mark C Stefanicki: Writing

My writing, as you can see from the dates, tends to be very sporadic. One of the main reasons for this is that I need to feel at peace, and free of immediate stress. This is seldom the case in my game. I often scribbled things down while invigilating examinations- in the days when we still did that. I need to have an inspiration generally; I find it very difficult, almost impossible, to write to order. The ideas have to come of their own volition; how best to express them...well now: that I can think on.

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I wrote this, going through several drafts, while a Year 9 class of mine were writing their own word sketches of "A Modern Pilgrim" following a reading of sections of Chaucer's "Canterbury Tales.

 A modern pilgrim                                                     

When called from his bed, he turns on his side,                                   

Forgotten the page of homework untried.                                             

Shirt in a jumble, his tie won’t untie                                                  

Resting on yesterday’s lunch so close by.                                   

Knotted the shoelaces, bedclothes and mind,                                       

Nicest of people, alone, you could find;                                     

When with his peers you will see him quite changed                        

And adults around him grow quite deranged.                         

Devious, sly with a wit sometimes slight,                                            

Sudden his insights and truths like bright light.                              

Intent on technology, wrecking his pens,                                

Obscured to vision in spite of trained lens,                                            

Slumbering at tables not minding his book,                           

Yet achieving high scores in the test that he took.                                        

Stranger to combs, brushes, water and soap,                            

Inexplicably, somehow, engendering hope.                                          

Aggressive and dreamy, rampant, confused,                                       

Small wonder, the schoolboy leaves us bemused.                      

 ©  M. Stefanicki. 30 Mar 2009.5th draft.

 Black-eyed Piece.

On observing a pupil with a black eye, failing to concentrate during an examination piece...

That blackened eye

Leers – furtive, underbrow,

Searching for...

More roving, really;

random, aimless...

Concepts fogged by

arid cataracts, flow lost;

a lachrymal ellipsis of

the mind. Where

do they lead,

those waypoints. What answers

Swerve within their

inked circumference, or in

the cushioning blanks between?

No... You

join the dots,

my friend...

©  MCS.160611.draft 5

The Last Bell. (On retiring from 25 years of Teaching...)

The hallowed corridors envelope

Silent voices in walls’ fabric.

Hollow footfalls follow

Melancholic resonance

Of chances lost.

Mullioned windows smile

On aspects  of green hope,

Full of life and promise.

Labyrinthine twists of talent,

Germinating  under concrete slabs,

Flower in the fissures of youth.

Where did they go, those seeds?

Trapped in soil that you thought fallow...

But see now.

But see now...

MCS. 050713

"Living History" (originally "Being There") - a very early draft:


Aromatic roses which the craftsman carved in chocolate,

Colour which the artist mixed to represent pure gold.

Sparkle of the diamond which the jeweller in fair silver set,

Value of the Rembrandt which the auctioneer has sold.

Intricate as lace Hyperion’s sunrise in Spring skies appears;

Deep the turquoise ocean’s swelling waters, ancient realms.

Tow’ring white soft anvil’s upward surge to azure air endears;

Peacock’s rippling palette, iridescent, overwhelms.

Though wonders man and nature made, advantages proclaim,

To me you are of greater worth; the world is not the same. 

©  M. Stefanicki. April 2008.

My Youngest.

Stomping coming through the ceiling,

In the kitchen, tremors feeling

I sit and steady coffee cup –

She’s up.

Ornate, fine picture, lacelike wings,

From ravelled page queen fairy sings.

Her small hands guide lines graphite stores –

She draws.

She’s shut away in private realms,

In dreams of spires and knights in helms;

Approached, proclaims with firm set brows –  

Not now.

Light, flitting spirit, dainty form,

To father’s hug she runs to warm

Her soul; she needs to know, frail waif – 

It’s safe.

 Through charming riddle I am blessed;

That pretty puzzle – my youngest.

©  M. Stefanicki. April 2008.

 “You may start...” (Invigilating Geography paper 2...5/6/03)

Serried silents scribble,

fretting over paper’s quibble:

now you know it,

now you don’t;

little matter, it would seem.


The sleeper up against the wall

succumbs to

folly’s burden, heavy headed

Slumber, closing doors in lumber

rooms, replete with musty charts,

and maps, and graphs.


Kenya’s colours liven it a little,

Its dust and forests pastel on the page.

But if the picture appears pretty,

It’s the question that’s the


unless you make your mark.


Population pyramid

of rows of bowing backs,

a gym of exercising minds,

to-morrow’s demographic vindicators

who want to know where it will end,

when we started off

in tiers...

©  M.C. Stefanicki. June 2003.


"Living History"

With glistening brass, shining shoes

Standing tall and proud.

Our age exceeds,

Our braid outranks –

But still we would

Remember  them.

Out of step and out of time,

On parade like toys;

We borrow boot prints from the fields

They trod, bound for battle –

Our insipid shots

Pale echoes.

For those who fought before we could,

And did those deeds

Admired, remembered, mimed,

Walked on water in a storm –

We are paddling

In the shadows.

We can never reach their heights;

Their names will live

For evermore. But we

Like airy vapour trails –

Will look spectacular,

And will fade.

With glistening brass, shining shoes

On parade like toys,

We will look spectacular

The better to give honour  -

To all those girls

And boys.


MCS. 280514

draft 6