Sunday, July 26, 2009

Something From September Last Year

Today I am going to kill something. Anything.
I have had enough of being ignored and today
I am going to play God. It is an ordinary day,
a sort of grey with boredom stirring in the streets.

I squash a fly against the window with my thumb.
We did that at school. Shakespeare. It was in
another language and now the fly is in another language.
I breathe out talent on the glass to write my name.

I am a genius. I could be anything at all, with half
the chance. But today I am going to change the world.
Something’s world. The cat avoids me. The cat
knows I am a genius, and has hidden itself.

I pour the goldfish down the bog. I pull the chain.
I see that it is good. The budgie is panicking.
Once a fortnight, I walk the two miles into town
for signing on. They don’t appreciate my autograph.

There is nothing left to kill. I dial the radio
and tell the man he’s talking to a superstar.
He cuts me off. I get our bread-knife and go out.
The pavements glitter suddenly. I touch your arm.

Over dinner the other day (in between smses with her 40 yr old son) Ruth, Fidah's landlady, asked about my research. She told me that Education for Leisure by Carol Ann Duffy might interest me because of the recent controversy involving this piece of work. I googled and found that on September 4th 2008, the Guardian reported that schools were asked to destroy "the knife poem". The directive from the top exam board was triggered by concerns over references made to knives in the poem. There were 3 formal complaints made about the poem since 2004. Two complaints were about the mention of knives and the other complaint was about killing a goldfish by pouring it "...down the bog"

Please watch this.The video was made for a GCSE coursework assigment and i think it's just brilliant. The background music is by Radiohead. A song called Talkshow Host which is from the Baz Luhrman's Romeo and Juliet soundtrack.

Definitely a great way to get students interested in poems (the subject matter and the assignment). Something I would suggest teachers to try in the classroom. Or maybe a project I could do with school kids someday.