Sunday, 11 August 2013

How shallow is the soul of the Minister for Exams? ;-)

Minister for Exams

When I was a child I sat an exam. 
The test was so simple

There was no way I could fail.

Q1. Describe the taste of the moon.

It tastes like Creation I wrote,
it has the flavour of starlight.

Q2. What colour is Love?

Love is the colour of the water 
a man lost in the desert finds, I wrote.

Q3. Why do snowflakes melt?

I wrote, they melt because they fall
onto the warm tongue of God.

There were other questions.
They were as simple.

I described the grief of Adam when he was expelled from Eden. 
I wrote down the exact weight of an elephant's dream.

Yet today, many years later,

For my living I sweep the streets

or clean out the toilets of the fat hotels.

Why? Because I constantly failed my exams.

Why? Well, let me set a test.

Q1. How large is a child's imagination?

Q2. How shallow is the soul of the Minister for Exams? 

Brian Patten 1996


Many a true word!!!! I love this poem!!

It's going to be at the top of my agenda over the coming months!!!;-)


Today, I was looking at the new spec for the English Lit GCSE exams
from 2015... for both AQA and Edexcel. I noticed that the pupils have to 
study even more poetry than before; now included is a list
of poets, from which they have to study one poem written by each poet.

That's an awful lot of poetry!

Furthermore, I question who selects these poets. 

For instance, the AQA list contains Brian Patten, a brilliant poet
who made his name as part of the Liverpool/ Mersey poets...the others
being Adrian Henri and Roger McGough (neither are included in the list.)

If I'd had my way, then Adrian Henri and Roger McGough would
have been there too, in that list!

The main aim of the Mersey poets was to make poetry immediate and accessible for their audience. Their JOINT anthology, The Mersey Sound (1967) has been credited as being the most significant anthology of the twentieth century for its success in bringing poetry to new audiences.

I think someone has missed a trick in their selection and hasn't thought about this widely

enough... which brings me right back to the poem above, really!


The painting, below,hangs in The National Portrait Gallery.

Entitled 'Liverpool Poets', it was painted in 1985 by Peter Douglas Edwards.

No comments:

Post a Comment