Friday 12 December 2014


Today's poem is one that I have been honing at readings over the past eighteen months or so. I am aware that one of my default settings [is it possible to have more than one default setting?] is that unchecked I have a tendency to hector in my poetry. It is not a virtue. 
For example the day I wrote this poem I was reading at an event here in Taunton. I was so pleased with the first, very long version of this poem, that I read it out. About half way through I realised that it was too long-I had revised it many times at this point, but obviously not enough.
Since then I have cut it down dramatically. The origin of the piece was a random idea. I had been reminded of the fact that when at school we would have end of year exams-I am so old, I am pre-pre-SATs. I thought it would be interesting if we had to write an end of species exam. The origin of the poem is that simple.
Now the jig is up, the experiment nearly over, it’s time for the exam. Please answer the following questions as completely as you can. Your answers may be of interest to some future species or a extra-terrestrial life form, if they can be bothered to come so far to see the pig’s ear we’ve made of this place.
The big trek out of Africa- was it worth the effort? Discuss.
Agriculture-what was all that about then? Pay particular attention to the supermarkets and how they set about stuffing both the consumer and the producer. Illustrate your answer with drawings of supermarkets burning.
Answer yes or no. Did you really believe the Tories when they said the NHS was safe in their hands?
List at least three reasons why as a species we believe in ideologies over common sense?

Estimate to the nearest pint how much blood is on Tony Blair’s hands.
State, to the nearest year, when you came to believe that we should pay for our own education. Then comment on the fact that the people who told us we had to pay benefited from free education themselves. Pay particular attention to their moral bankruptcy.
Nuclear power, who did you really expect to clean up all the crap?

Offer at least three reasons for the fact that the cabinet look so smug when the number of food banks in this country is rising.
And finally, why did we allow them to get away with it for so long?
What do you think? What questions would you want to ask us as a species? I am aware that mine are very culture specific- but then I was socially constructed here not elsewhere.

I leave you with the wonderful Mountain Goats live at Newport in 2013, energy and such amazing lyrics.

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