In Loco Parentis

In Loco Parentis
You’re bound to this
like a Hippocratic oath…
or maybe not quite.

We were given the keys to a room,
A whiteboard pen,
(Having just evolved from the chalkboard era).
And a list of names.

For a short time, a fixed term
In that window-walled room
Those names on a list,
were my own
Bound together like the herringbone floor.

In loco parentis.  Fierce lioness.
You must look out for them,
protect them,
As if they were your own.
They were.
Until they left.
Duty done.  New lists.  New names.

But really not quite. It would seem
The oath to protect, in loco parentis
– I understand now –
Was not bound to the confines
Of the herringbone room,
Those book filled days
that went by too soon.
We’ve all left that world
Board pen dried out.
But the lists of names stay
Loft-locked still in my mind.

Some of us have found our way
Swimming in the greater school of life
Back in neutral waters now
Colleagues.  Friends.
And the fierce lioness now twice proud.
Of the children you were.
Of the adults you’ve become.

Board pen list
in these tumultuous waters
You’re not alone.
I may have traded in in loco parentis
Wiped the board white
Though when life storms are too much
I’m still here with an open door;
Just like back then.
Herrings shoal – there’s wisdom in their silver.
There’ always a shoulder for you here.
And maybe a little wisdom in my silver too.


Author: Lowrey E. Gray

Usually found with a cup of tea, a pet or a book, I am most content with life's humble gifts. A catch up with friends and home baked cakes is my idea of bliss. My heart beats where my family are close but my soul will always be in that place between sunset and sunrise. 💚

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