Sunday, 22 April 2018

This 11 stanza poem is woven with 3 lines per stanza to a total of 33 lines. The diction is very simple except for some intentional disarranged words for the purpose of clarifying the setting of the poem. Rich in repetition with a third person point of view, it is void of rhythm, end-rhyme, simile, run-on-line, etc. 

“Half Pass Two” by began thus:
 “Once upon a schooltime
He did Something Very Wrong
(I forget what it was)

And she said he’d done
Something Very Wrong, and must
Stay in the school-room till half-past two…”

In summary, the voice of the poem told of a little schoolboy who was asked by the teacher to remain alone in the classroom till half-past two as a form of punishment to an unknown misconduct. The na├»ve little boy never understood the term “half-past two” and wasn’t brave enough to inquire the meaning from the teacher. The boy remained in the school till dark before taken home.

And the truth is that when I was in class 3, I was a victim of such. I did offend my class teacher and she asked me to be walking up and down the long class pavement with my knees. I knelt to and fro the pavement from around 12pm till 5pm before the school security saw me while inspecting the school classrooms and asked me to stand and be going home. I refused with the fear that my teacher would be very angry when she realized I left the punishment without her permission but in class the next day she didn’t even asked me about it_ meaning she didn’t remember that she left me kneeling and when home.

I have analyzed a poem whose main theme relates to formal education_ The Schoolboy by William Blake, this poem slightly shares such theme.

Few among the themes in this poem “Half Past Two” by U A Fanthorpe are Imperfection, inferiority, naivety, teaching and learning, timing, etc. The teacher’s inability to track the schoolboy’s level of knowledge plus her wrong judgmental action proves that formal education remains imperfect atmosphere for learning. “he was too scared at being wicked to remind her” which in line 9 points at pupils’ level of inferiority to their teachers. Another theme in the poem is naivety. Not only did the poem speaker’s diction portrayed the little schoolboy naivety with the use of “gettinguptime” in line 11, “timetogohomenowtime” and “Tvtime” in line 12, “timeformykisstime” in line 13; he also didn’t possess the mature mindset that questions authority.

It is no denying that teaching and learning is a vital part of human development but it sometimes falls in the trap of ambiguity which in turn results to misinterpretation. Though, as simple as it seems, the phrase “half-past two” became too huge for the little schoolboy to understand. Another theme in the poem is the theme of timing which governs every human existence not excluding the little schoolboy.
From the words of the poem speaker, time and the knowledge of time seemed a burden to the boy. The only time he could acquire freedom from the bondage of timing was by lacking the skill to read the clock and having no one around to disturb him with timing.

The little schoolboy enjoyed such freedom until the teacher came back in lines 28-29 and “So she slotted him back into schooltime/ And he got home in time for teatime”

Few other things to note are:
  • In line 19 “He waited beyond onceupona” referred to the boy’s stay beyond the stipulated time.
  • In line 20 “Out of reach of all the timefors” referred to the boy’s lonely state where no one disturbed him with “it’s time for this or it’s time for that”. 

Enunwa Chukwudinma S. 
aka samueldpoetry
(the Leo with wings flying) 


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