Julie’s Sonnet of the Month

Remembering a wonderful teacher

By Julie Leibrich

I had a wonderful English teacher who not only taught us the language, but taught how to think.

Years later, on visits to England, we would go for lunch and talk about ideas.

When she died in 2005, she was blind, deaf, one hundred years old and as sharp as ever. In those later years she would say ‘Call me Jessica’, but it wasn’t possible. She would always be Miss Crossfield to me.




I see you as a slant of light through glass.

Always the same. A shaft cuts through the haze.

Forever fourteen. Always in your class.

Forever astounded. Again and again you amaze.


Outside, the sulphur smog of northern skies,

dark streets still echoing the mill-bound clog.

Inside, you teach us that we must surmise

a life beyond that endless factory slog.


‘Think’ you urge, compelling us with your eyes.

We chew on pens, fathoming our fate.

‘Dream’ you intone, until we’re mesmerised,

drawn into the space where we create.


Your passion for possibility set us free –

gymslip girls to women we could be.


By Julie Leibrich