Monday, May 4, 2009

An AQA Anthology

The new laureate

the nation's pupils mourn
a laureate is born;
the cursed AQA's now
enshrined in the Royal Mall.

Oh Harry you must recall
the pain that Havisham-
-Salome caused your classroom
Go tell your gran before

your family's events
become the stuff of tests
exams and student hatred;
perhaps it's just the thing

poems you can't even sing
and words that bury joy,
a job that's only ever
good to write to order

The new patrons

these are the new patrons of poetry
they'll pay for pointless drivel written
for kids, you don't need art
or even a heart, a place
in the AQA's study
guide will keep you
scribbling, a scrabbling squirrel
who'll find her nuts
in the deadened, graphite trees
of the anthology


Puzzled pupils ponderously parse
particles of words and verse
seeking simile and metaphor
creeping by with sly pretence
of personification
Spot the difference and earn a mark
Get it wrong, you're BANNED from poems
for life - and a day
(now no elation!)

So much for personalisation -
in search of quick-step qualification
they're piling Ossia onto Pelion;
as for alliteration
it's easy to read
rare to write and hard to say

Somewhere in the line
there's a half-rhyme
find it if time
and is a pun allowed
or should it be quiet
(for fear of fun and play)?

Tutored/tortured to rip the heart from words
our prize pupils perspire in their task
a soul could flit across the face
and words unleash a dream's display
but none of that would satisfy
the bald minds of the AQA

Seamus, it's a shame they treat you so
Ted, you should be better read;
chuckle, don't frown, at McGough and Patten,
Duffy, there's enough of Carol-Ann
Harry, quick, go tell the Queen
Oh Mr Motion, how can words
paint a human soul?
Ask Plath, whose tormented talent was beyond
craft or deconstruction long before
the age of GCSE

Here's a plan to help the kids enjoy
and achieve some little poem before
the rigours of work and adulthood
turn their heads bald or grey:

Let them write of their own
crystallise in poetic picture
the fevered feelings of the teen
engrave it on a plaque and hang
it on the wall.
That's all.

Tom Rudge, Devon
Copyright: By application

A Facebook group called I Can't Wait to Burn My Anthology has 37,000 members. TR.

Last poem by this writer


Anonymous said...

Carol Ann shows some bite!

TR said...

Good one. Bet it doesn't make the anthology

Anonymous said...

Carol Anne was a poet in residence in schools before her books were published. Her "Head of English" in Standing Female Nude shows some insights into the problems of teaching. Maybe she could use her office to do something about it?