‘She was, like-‘
‘And he was, like-‘
‘And she was, like-‘
‘And he was, like-‘
‘And she was, like-‘
‘And he was, like-‘
And, yes, by now I’m bored.
Long since losing interest
In what I may have overheard,
Wondering in my idle way
What on earth it was she had to say
That somehow demanded such a long introduction,
Like a mating ritual devoid of seduction…
Is this, I’m wondering, contemporary indictment
Of just how Curriculum’s annulled all excitement?
Rather than extending first-order declension
We peel things to pieces with critical obsession
All in the name of ‘creativity’,
A thin disguise for State sponsored pedantry,
Itself responsible for the decline
Of creativity described in lines
Handwritten with an instrument
Of non-electronic portable intent,
The business of shaping imagination
Undermined by pondering preoccupation
On structures and forces and principles
That most of us never needed to know,
Allowed as kids to let language grow.
Nothing anymore profound
Than playing with rhythms, rhymes and sounds…
None of your ‘deconstructing text’,
The kind of endeavour destined to vex
Like learning the theory of internal combustion
In order to drive a car ‘cross a junction…
Humans as learners pose quite a conundrum:
Perceptions from abstract to frankly dumb,
Tacit failure to make basic connections
A dangerous cognitive intersection
Impeded by our own ingenuity
To simplify life with technology,
Passively eroding by gradual degree
Uniqueness of personal quality:
Pressures (if that’s really what they are)
Contributing phenomena quite bizarre,
Reducing the human disposition
To qualities of market competition.
To be or not to be¹ the same
The challenge of this contemporary game:
The subtlest signs of a uniform
Those artefacts we chase to conform,
From on-trend ‘brows’ and fake eyelashes
To mobile phones and waxed off ‘taches
That, rather than capturing imagination,
Give public indictment to our station.
Have you never really wondered
For the future of the nation
If every future adult’s
Only travelled the same stations?
When was the last time you heard a young voice
Expressing itself with a language of choice
Not stopping and starting and fading of heart,
Fretting at the vetting for every false start.
Language is the thing that separates our species;
Gives us the edge over all other beasties.
Do you really think we got here
By checking off a list
Of pre-prepared statements
To work out what we’ve missed…?




¹ William Shakespeare’s ‘Hamlet’










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