The Teacher’s Prologue

Inspired by the character sketches of the introduction to Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales

There was a man they called Doctor Mourir.
He left students with nothing less than fear.
Yet they respected him, and sought his aid.
Teaching, though what he did, was not well paid.
Science was what he taught, albeit by day.
By night, late hours there in school, he’d stay.
How lights would flash as he tested his labs.
A colored compound, here he’d stir, and dab
To find the incredible, perfect mix
Of elements, and so he’d choose and pick.
He wore an apron stained with tears and waste
And goggles far too large for his thin face.
His hair was curly white, and thin, this sage.
His hair grew fast for sixty years of age.
Like fleece, though, smooth and white did his face seem.
On being clean-shaven, this man seemed keen.
He did not smile often, in world of woe,
But when he did, his students, they did glow.
For his smile was warm and warmed their hearts,
Even as his frown pierced the heart with darts.
Angered was he at administration
For shortening their class and education.
In the town around the school he taught in,
Diversity was viewed a huge distortion.
Ideas, like diversity, they were banned.
A concept he refused to grasp, this man.
In books and essays, the teacher found time
To read as he liked, and sharpen his mind.
Found the town too small, as he read in haste.
His mind, perhaps, too large for the town’s taste.
They did not like the ideas he told, his peers.
“He tries to fill our minds with junk,” they jeered.
They called him the mad scientist, and laughed.
Because they did not care, he used his craft
To teach pupils to read, to save their lives.
He chose to refrain from having a wife.
Accepted not by the people, he declined
To form relations with the humankind.
But his students were young, and had not learned.
And so he gladly taught, while they still yearned.