That was it. One line. But what a line! It was midsummer, and Robert had found and studied a solitary, decaying winter leaf. And in his observations and his slow reflections, Robert captured an image that contained a most deliberate metaphor. He was saying,
I'm convinced, 'Mr Hymer, notice me. I know I've not got a great deal going for me in school, but just sometimes, in some situations, I can do things that will amaze you.' The children's best efforts were collated and published in-house in an anthology entitled, Their Own Secret Colours. With the support of David Orme, Robert introduced the anthology to the parents at the official launch. He later told me it was the first time he'd ever been asked to do something important. Robert's moment in the sun coincided with a staggering change in his attitude and performance in school. He saw himself as a poet, as someone who, under the right conditions, could amaze with the power of his words. He still struggled to read and write and acquire new concepts at the speed of his classmates, but the bullying pretty much stopped, the friendships and peer-respect grew and Robert walked around the school and playgrounds with a real, deep and growing sense of self-confidence. He seemed caught up in a virtuous circle. And if that was the effect of Robert's self-perception, who was I to disillusion him? A few weeks later the term and school year ended. I left the school and the area and I've no idea what became of him.