Teacher discovers unknown Dahl poem

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The Independent Online

A previously unpublished poem by the children's author Roald Dahl has been discovered by a school teacher.

In it, he talks of how his sadistic teacher used to twist pupils' ears until they fell off and how his class was full of one-eared boys. He tells them they should praise their own teachers, who obviously have no such unfortunate habits. The punishments are inflicted upon pupils who cannot remember their dates in history lessons.

The 10-line poem was sent to pupils at the Priory Church of England school in Christchurch, Dorset, in 1989, a year before his death, after some had written to him telling him he was their favourite author. The teacher, Jenny Sibbald, took the poem home with her and only rediscovered it last week when she was preparing a lesson to help her pupils celebrate National Poetry Reading Day.

Now it has been framed by the school and put in its entrance hall.

Mark Loveys, the headteacher, said: "When we first read it we tried to find out whether it had been published anywhere but we couldn't find it in any of his works. We contacted the Roald Dahl Foundation to see if they could help find it but were told it had not been published.

Mrs Sibbald said: "We wondered whether it was the same letter that he might have sent out to other schools ­ because we didn't think he could have sent it just to us. We're obviously very pleased to have it because it's a good example of his work."

When the children first heard the poem, they all thought it was hilarious and burst out laughing, she said.

Dated 21 June 1989, the poem is written on headed notepaper and signed with love from Roald Dahl.