The sun only slowly burns off the morning fog;
a mind is clearing.
I’ve been cursing the cold and remind
myself of the time of year.
‘Literacy has stalled’. The radio spits out
this throw-away phrase.
It gets stuck in my craw, as if
this country hadn’t already been thrown
to the dogs, its mangled corpse
not tossed around for years, plaything
of the Whitehall hounds
and their circling vultures, both
rather good at feigning that they care.
‘Literacy has stalled’. As if it ever really
got going, it’s been a hidden truth
for decades; those miraculous exam
successes where league table is king. Never
common sense, not discipline and
certainly never values. And here’s
carte blanche to dress it all up; new curriculums
and shining academies: Zero times zero
Literacy has stalled: so tell me something
new! Nearly everything learned I’ve taught
myself, it’s a case of needing to but
I’ve yet to train my eye to spot who’s
behind the tail that wags the
elephant in the room
poem © copyright Dave Barker 2012