Thursday, 8 October 2009

Today is 'National Poetry Day'

When I was at University most of my friends were studying to be teachers. One of them found this poem by Peter Dixon which I found entertaining - especially as I had been a prefect in the sixth form of the rather pompous local grammar school. I'm sure quite a lot of the teachers there would have liked to 'bring back higher standards'!

'Oh Bring Back Higher Standards'

Oh bring back higher standards –
the pencil and the cane –
if we want education then we must have some pain.
Oh, bring us back all the gone days
Yes, bring back all the past . . .
let’s put them all in rows again – so we can see who’s last.

Let’s label all the good ones
(the ones like you and me)
and make them into prefects – like prefects used to be.
We’ll put them on the honours board
. . . as honours used to be,
and write their names in burnished script -
for all the world to see.
We’ll have them back in uniform,
We’ll have them doff their caps,
And learn what manners really are
. . . for decent kind of chaps!
. . . So let’s label all the good ones,
we’ll call them ‘A’s and ‘B’s-
and we’ll parcel up the useless ones,
and call them ‘C’s and ‘D’s.
. . . We’ll even have an ‘E’ lot!
. . . an ‘F’ or ‘G’ maybe!!
. . . so they can know they’re useless,
. . . and not as good as me.

For we’ve got to have the stupid –
And we’ve got to have the poor
if we don’t have them . . .
well . . . what are prefects for?



  1. So funny!, but actually true as it reminded me of when I was at school. a long, long, long, long long time ago!!!! Good post! suzie. x

  2. Have you ever read any Barbara Pym? I have, and have enjoyed some biographies of her as well. Such delight, truly. She was an Oxford scholar before WWII. And your little ditty just brought to mind how even when I was younger, there was more focus on the "Classics". Most folks (if they're middle class, at any rate, and especially if they're "blue collar" as I was/is) need to learn a trade as soon as possible in this world. No time for anything else.

  3. My husband and I are both teachers and we loved this poem. It gave us a good laugh and we printed it to take into our schools to share!


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