Mike Harwood's poem, to be published in the collection 'KJV Old Text New Poetry', is a moving riposte to the free school policy.

Claire M's picture
Ode to Free Schools
(after Frank O’Hara)
The education charity ARK, founded by a financier, is spearheading the proposed academy in Wandsworth.

In the City

We shall have everything we want
multitudinous nannies in our nappy valley
and no more paying private school fees
for the symbol of our new Academy
will acknowledge vulgar materialism
and we will fill our insatiable privileged classrooms
with pupils from Honeywell High View Belleview
we like customers from homes with a view
who glide past closer catchments on lubricated
wheels of honey four by four
into our thirteen million pound ARK
our pupils milk lined satchels will inflate
with photographs of narcissists
and bankers and celebrities
like the neo tropic cormorant we dive
only for the shiniest fish
surfacing to flip and swallow head first
public cash raining down on us
like manna from heaven
for we are a free school and drawing breath
will take only a few
token two by two’s into our ARK
for they are from Estate Winstanley
on the wrong side of the Battersea tracks
it is the lay of the land

In the country

From the dizzy hilltop air
we shall see the free school renovation
rise near the churchyard elm
while from the sky a hook billed Gove
will circle and swoop to deliver the chosen few
out of the valley to bring them up unto
a good land a Stoke-by-Nay-land
where parents soak in granite baths
and intravenously graze on poupettes of lemon soul
and from a council house imagination itself
will pedal a mountain bike boy
through the valley floor like an Olympian
flowing and covered with gold
but he will hesitate at the crossroads
see the golfer hole in one on the second course
the Constable not the Gainsborough
for he will know he will never hear
the music of their harps
or touch the four million pounds
reupholstered free school chair
he will ride back to his improving comprehensive
on tyre tread that does not roll on like a river
to stand with others on chipped classroom chairs
inserting fingers in holes of roofs
of never failing streams of rain water
and they will say in assembly
we do have all things in common
we are of one heart and soul
take not our money let our people go
Mike Harwood
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Janet Downs's picture
Wed, 06/07/2011 - 13:08

A Clerihew:

The Secretary of State for Ed
Vigorously nodded his head
“I’ll turn the lot into fools,
With my radical reforms for schools!”

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