Conjugate The Verbs

a burly woman with thick glasses
punctual at 6 a.m.
I,with half-closed eyes
sat in front with my exercise book.

Straight away she opens Wren & Martin,
bids me conjugate the verbs.
I miss not many but wrote ‘putted’
as the past tense of: put.
and ‘cutted’ for: cut. She looked daggers, [a cliché but apt]
explained to me that a set of irregular verbs
do not change, they maintain the base one.

In retrospect.
I see Mrs. David caning me
when I misspelled.
twisting my ears when I faltered in tenses.
It may seem cruel. To me, it was not.
She was tough. Expected perfection.
I learnt the hard way. The pain still lurks
but prevents me from making mistakes.