Irish Elementary School Displays Forgotten Roald Dahl Poem

Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain
Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

Yesterday marked what would have been Roald Dahl's 100th birthday. To honor the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory author's legacy, The Irish News reports, an elementary school in Northern Island has displayed a long-lost treasure: a rediscovered poem that Dahl wrote for students there nearly 30 years ago.

In 1988, a class at the Primate Dixon Primary School in Coalisland wrote to Dahl after reading his 1975 children’s book Danny, the Champion of the World. The author replied—but instead of sending a simple thank you letter, he crafted a poem especially for them.

In the poem, Dahl remembers his own teacher—a stern disciplinarian who “loved using the cane”—and praises the boys’ instructor, a man named James Maye. It concludes, “From your letters to me it would seem / That your teacher is clearly a dream / There’s no whacks on the bum / When you can’t do a sum / Instead you get strawberries and cream.”

The verses were left inside a desk drawer and forgotten about until 2012, when the institution’s vice principal, Siobhan Murphy, found Dahl’s letter in a desk that had been moved from the school’s old location to a new one. Officials announced the discovery to the rest of the academic community, but they wanted to wait until a special occasion—like Dahl’s 100th birthday—to officially unveil the letter to the public.

On Tuesday, September 13, Primate Dixon finally exhibited the poem which, according to the BBC, had actually been printed in The Roald Dahl Treasury, a 1997 anthology of the author’s lesser-known works. You can read the entire poem over at The Irish News.

[h/t BBC]

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