‘All Day Long’ by Noel Monahan

Noel, a writer and poet from Cavan, has five poetry collections published by Salmon Poetry. He has written many plays including a recent adaptation of the Children of Lir. He broadcasts on radio including Sunday Miscellany, Lyric FM and many local stations. Noel’s poem ‘All Day Long” is a prescribed text for The New Leaving Certificate English Course 2011 and 2012.

All Day Long by Noel Monahan

Synopsis of Poem:

In this poem Noel Monahan, a teacher, talks about the boredom the children he teaches face every day. There is repetition of the words “All Day Long”, this defines the boredom they encounter in school, he talks of the difficulty teachers face in trying to keep the children engaged and on task,

“you never know, when some disappear, you never know where to find them”,

This suggests the children are in a world of their own and the teacher can’t reach them, intellectually or physically, because often the children mitch or bunk off school because they are not inspired or challenged enough.

He suggests the teacher does his/her best

“Teachers are Patient”, “See with their eyes, See with their Hearts”.

This suggests the teacher is understanding of the difficulties the students face they are “not easily tamed” and yet they are forced to sit in rows, which obviously is difficult for these children.

In the fifth stanza he talks of the time spent and repetitive task of accounting for these children morning and afternoon, all information is stored on file yet when these children go missing nobody knows where to find them.

The poet seems frustrated at the school system that seems to fail the untamed student, we do not encourage or inspire them, they do not attend school, legally we spend time accounting for their daily movements, yet when they need us we are not there for them.

Like father, like son-net: Dad’s poem on syllabus – National News – Independent.ie

I remember Noel Monahan having taught at St, Clare’s Secondary School, Ballyjmamesduff, Co Cavan. I can’t quite remember if he was involved with the brilliant musicals that were staged there every year by the students, or perhaps he was associated with the town’s annual Frolics show. What an achievement for him to get one of his poems on the Leaving Certificate curriculum.

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