If Nostradamus were an English teacher

Scott Gardner

Johnny: Teacher, Albert stole my pencil again!

Nostradamus: Albert, maker of malice,

Potty-mouthed prankster of great aplomb,

Ten years hence will strain his tibialis

Running from police after a barroom scrum.


Lisa: Teacher, why doesn’t English have a future tense?

Nostradamus: Discernment of the future’s parallax

To but a chosen few is blessed,

While the logic of English syntax

Is really anyone’s guess.


Mr. Timmons [crafts teacher]: Billy, slow down! Running with scissors is bad!

Nostradamus: Lo, such veritable invective

From Timmons, Lord of English Wizards!

The described behavior is indeed defective;

It should be “Running with a scissors”!


Principal: Mr. Damus, we’ve been getting phone calls from parents saying that you’re scaring the students. This sort of thing has got to stop!

Nostradamus: Alas! what immeasurable loss to learning

Before the summer is nigh,

If you are to begin governing

My masterful use of the Evil Eye!


Annie: Teacher, what good does it do us to learn English? The only place English matters is at school.

Nostradamus: A monstrous creature with a soothing tongue

Will fill the valleys with horror.

By many names it will be known:

Disney, McDonald’s, Coca Cola.


...and finally, these random mystical projections...

Eraser droppings on desks will rise

Like the sands of Algiers,

And none will be surprised

That they must repeat their senior year.


In front of a cram school will be found an infant,

Holding 12 years of tuition.

He will grow large and strong enough to confront

The most vicious exam of admission.


When the snakes surround the altar,

And the Trojan blood is troubled by the Spanish,

On the TOEFL test one student will falter

And to a Canadian exchange program be banished.


A student rests on her desk with closed eyes;

A plaintive buzz is heard near at hand.

Awakened, scrambling to text her reply,

She soon returns to dreamy land.


With this burden of sight through the abyss

Only I am encumbered;

Among my visions, to you I reveal this:

Nouns as adjectives have no number.