Charlie never cries,  


not even 

when he came down the slide 

too fast in Year 5 

and broke his wrist.  

Miss couldn’t believe it;  

he even smiled and waved 

to our class across the playground 

when Mr Smith drove him off 

to hospital.  


Charlie never cries,  


not even  

when his gran died –  

he was back in school 

the next day 

said he was fine, 

he’d survive –  

but you could see it 

in the shadows 

of his eyes.  


Charlie never cries  


but when it was time 

for the reading paper 






Charlie sighed  

flicked through the pages 

for ages 

put his pen down.  

Miss appeared at his side saying,  

try your best, Charlie  

it’s just a test, Charlie 

and he looked over at me 

and I swear I could see 

right inside his mind 

and it was dark 

and he was hiding 

shoulders shaking 

and he knew 

he couldn’t do 

what they wanted 

him to do 

however hard he tried.  


And I’ll never forget 

the day of the test,  


the day  



Copyright: from Bright Bursts of Colour (Bloomsbury Education, 2020), © Matt Goodfellow 2020, used by permission of the author and publisher.

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