This week's Poetry On The Air , which can be heard on RTHK's Radio 4 at 10.05 am today and again at 6.30 pm tomorrow, features a poem about a young boy, Timothy. Read the following lines and then say, honestly, whether you have ever had the same experience: When teacher talks he won't hear a word, And he shoots down dead the arithmetic-bird. Maybe you are brilliant at arithmetic and your mind never wanders when your teacher is speaking. But maybe on one or two occasions, you have started daydreaming or have not tried to follow the new equation the teacher is explaining. This week's poem is by Charles Causley about a schoolboy called Timothy Winters. Timothy hates maths and doesn't listen to his teacher. What does he look like? His belly is white, his neck is dark, And his hair is an exclamation mark. His clothes are enough to scare a crow And through his britches the blue winds blow. From the above verse we can see that Timothy doesn't comb his hair or wash regularly. His clothes are old scruffy and his trousers (britches) have got holes in them. But why? Don't his parents look after him? Later we learn that Timothy has a tough life and a difficult family: Old man Winters likes his beer And his missus ran off with a bombardier, Grandma sits in the grate with a gin . . . Timothy's parents are divorced. We know this because the father's wife, referred to as his 'missus' (Mrs) in the poem, ran away with another man, a soldier, a bombardier. He lives with his father and grandmother who are both heavy drinkers, meaning they drink of lot of alcohol. His father drinks beer and his grandmother drinks gin, which is a strong, alcoholic, spirit. The poem also reveals that Timothy's father is poor: Timothy Winters has bloody feet And he lives in a house on Suez Street, He sleeps on a sack on the kitchen floor And they say there aren't boys like him any more. So, Timothy sleeps on the floor and he has such big holes in his shoes that this feet bleed from walking in the street. The poem ends on a note of irony. In the penultimate verse we hear the headmaster of Timothy's school praying for children, 'less fortunate than ourselves'. The irony is that the headmaster seems out of touch with the fact some of the children in his school are very poor - it would be hard to find a child less fortunate than Timothy. The irony of the headmaster's words is highlighted with Timothy's response: At morning prayers the Headmaster helves For children less fortunate than ourselves, And the loudest response in the room is when Timothy Winters roars, 'Amen!' The fact that Timothy 'roars' amen, shouts it out loudly, shows that Timothy himself is making an ironic comment on the headmaster's sanctimonious words. Charles Causley, born in 1917, writes a lot of poetry and stories for young readers. His poems use simple language and have a strong rhyme. When Causley was young he played the piano in a dance band and it could be that this experience gave his poems their strong rhythm and direct approach. This is an edited version of the programme.