Western Nebraska Observer - Observations all along the line - Kimball & the Southern Panhandle First

Letter to the editor

Victim of conformity


A boy student, in the 12th grade, starved for attention, parched for understanding, handed in the following poem to his teacher:

“He always wanted to explain things,

but no one cared. So he drew, sometimes he would draw and it wasn’t anything.

He wanted to carve it in stone or write it in the sky. He would lie out on the grass and look up at the sky, and it would be only the sky and him and the things inside him that needed saying.

And it was after that he drew the picture.

It was a beautiful picture.

He kept it under his pillow and would let no one see it. And he would look at it every night and think about it. And when it was dark, and his eyes were closed, he could still see it.

It was all of him. And he loved it.

When he started school he brought it with him. Not to show anyone, but just to have it with him like a friend.

It was funny about school. He sat in a square, brown desk like all the other square, brown desks and he thought it should be red.

And his room was a square, brown room

like all the other rooms.

He hated to hold the pencil and chalk,

with his arm stiff and his feet flat on the floor.


With the teacher watching and watching.

The teacher came and spoke to him. She told him to wear a tie, like all the other boys. He said he didn’t like them and she said it didn’t matter.

After that they drew.

And he drew all yellow and it was the way he felt about morning.

And it was beautiful.

What’s this? She said. Why don’t you draw something like Ken’s drawing? Isn’t that beautiful?

After that his mother bought him a tie.

And he always drew airplanes and rocket ships like everyone else.

And he threw the old picture away. And when he lay out alone looking at the sky, it was big and blue and all of everything,

But he wasn’t anymore.

He was square inside. And brown. And his hands were stiff and he was like everyone else.

And the things inside him that needed saying didn’t need it anymore.

It had stopped pushing. It was crushed.

Stiff. Like everything else.

The teacher couldn’t help but be surprised. Such creativity. Such flair. Could this 12th grade boy really have composed such a poem?

It is not known today whether he actually wrote the poem by himself, all alone, or not.

It is known, however, that he committed suicide shortly afterward.

Submitted – Carmen Perkins P.H.D


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