The Cry

I woke to hear a cry that might have been
One of the children, ours or a neighbour’s: a cat,
It could have been, or a bird, or a dream
Woken out of so quickly it took itself into day.
Through the whole day the cry was in my head
Clear, but not high or low or known. And so
Because it lacked a name, it nagged at me.
It hung like a dry leaf on the edge of my mind.
The wind of a whole day tugged at it, seemed
Sometimes to shift it while I talked or listened or ate:
But it stayed, stayed the whole day till in bed again
I moved into sleep, the cry going with me to sleep.
And now I wake again and have things to do.
I think the leaf has fallen, the cry has gone.
It meant nothing, I know. Yet I write it down
And hear it again as I write, as I let it go.

About @wonderfrancis

Francis Gilbert is a Lecturer in Education at Goldsmiths, University of London, teaching on the PGCE Secondary English programme. He also teaches the Creative Writing module on the MA in Children’s Literature, which is run by Maggie Pitfield and Professor Michael Rosen. Previously, he worked for a quarter of a century in various English state schools teaching English and Media Studies to 11-18 year olds. He has, at times, moonlighted as a journalist, novelist and social commentator. He is the author of ‘Teacher On The Run’, ‘Yob Nation’, ‘Parent Power’, ‘Working The System -- How To Get The Very Best State Education for Your Child’, and a novel about school, ‘The Last Day Of Term’. His first book, ‘I'm A Teacher, Get Me Out Of Here’ was a big hit, becoming a bestseller and being serialised on Radio 4. In his role as an English teacher, he has taught many classic texts over the years and has developed a great many resources to assist readers with understanding, appreciating and responding to them both analytically and creatively. This led him to set up his own small publishing company FGI Publishing ( which has published his study guides as well as a number of books by other authors, including Roger Titcombe’s ‘Learning Matters’ and anthology of creative writing 'The Gold Room'. He is the co-founder, with Melissa Benn and Fiona Millar, of The Local Schools Network,, a blog that celebrates non-selective state schools, and has his own website, He has appeared numerous times on radio and TV, including Newsnight, the Today Programme, Woman’s Hour and the Russell Brand Show. In June 2015, he was awarded a PhD in Creative Writing and Education by Goldsmiths.
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