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School the First Step in Finding Meaning and Life's Purpose

Photo: British Council

Most children in different parts of the world will be heading back to school in the first week of September. So, what better than to note this momentous day for all the children and their parents than to read these two beautiful poems. The first one is " First Day” by Giles (You the Daddy). This is an emotional poem, and it is an expression of the feelings of a father about his son going to school for the first day. The poem depicts the love and affection a father feels when he leaves his son at the school gates on the first day. 


First day by Giles (You the Daddy)

‘New uniform, bought far too large

“With room to grow”, we say

New hair cut, sorted just in time,

To keep your mop at bay.

New book bag, empty, by your side

Black shoes fresh out the box

New emblem proudly on your chest

And name tapes in your socks.

Doorstep portrait, first of many,

When did you get so tall?

“Smile, say cheese” – click – oh my heart,

A keeper, sent to all.

I can’t believe this day’s arrived

Through teary eyes I see

You’re only four (and only just)

A baby, still, to me.

Deep in thought, few words you say,

While walking down the street

Look left, look right, we cross the road

To friends you’re yet to meet.

Your hand in mine, and mine in yours

“Quick, quick, we can’t be late!”

Part nervous, part excited,

As we both approach the gate.

And place your coat and bag upon

A peg marked with your name

As teachers welcome each bright spark

With smiles for each who came.

The longest hug, one last high five

Kiss kiss to say bye bye

Now off you go, and don’t look back

Or else you’ll see me cry.’

The second one is the equally beautiful and loving poem by Jenna Wills “Lonely - A poem for my daughter starting school” which captures the feelings, emotions, love, apprehension and hope of a mother when she takes her daughter to school on the first day.


Lonely in the Lift by Jenna Wills

‘Who’s going to press lift buttons for me

when you spend your days at school?

Or stop and smell the flowers,

Spot fairies on toadstools?

Who’s going to count the butterflies?

And picnic in the sun?

Drive me mad asking ‘why why why’?

Being sane is just no fun!

Who’s going to watch the bin lorry?

Shout and laugh with glee?

It’s the joy you take in simple things,

That means so much to me.

Those days I felt would never end,

Long night feeds in the dark.

First words, first steps and tantrums,

‘Five more minutes’ at the park.

For four years now it’s been just us,

It’s all gone far too fast.

And now it’s time for you to grow,

Our preschool days have passed.

My baby in my arms.

I promised to protect you

And keep you safe from harm.

It feels like it was yesterday,

But look at you, my pride and joy,

You’re yours, no longer mine.

A school girl now, and all grown up!

You’re ready, you’ll be just fine.

I might well shed a tear or two,

Kiss bye with a heavy heart.

But learning will bring you so much joy,

This is just the start.

It’s your time now for more first steps,

To the world so big and wide.

And as you walk away from me,

My heart will burst with pride.’

As a father of two grown up sons and as a granpa to four beautiful princesses, I send all my love and best wishes to all the mums and dads the world over taking their sons and daughters to school for the first time. Enjoy this precious day and moment.

Inspiring related reading:

Poetry is the Education that Nourishes the Heart and Nurtures the Soul

Reflecting on Life: My Childhood in Iran where the love of poetry was instilled in me

The Road to Bliss: My Joyous Journey in the Company of Poets

World in Chaos and Despair: The Healing Power of Poetry