Weekly Muse

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The Independent Culture
A train through trees in golden light,

Dead papers strewn on dusty seats;

The grey parade on Friday night

Clops grateful home in leafy streets.

Now put away those toys and crayons:

Our three-year-olds must learn to read.

Don't waste the day on idle play,

New "learning goals" are what they need.

What mania takes old Nanny now

To interfere with such young lives?

What twisted logic finds its end

In "targets" for the under-fives?

Which Murdstone-minded minister

Constructs this sad sarcophagus,

Brimful of goals for little souls

Who struggle with a syllabus?

As four-year-olds exhibit stress

And all across the nation

The kids are brought to breaking point

Before examination,

A crock of tears to blight the years

To student debt from nappy,

Temptation lies the other way:

Be ignorant. And happy.

Since literacy begun the theme,

A survey what they done this week

Reveals a brace of famous names

And criticises how they speak.

Two main offenders in the frame

Were William Hague and Tony Blair.

I thought I'd take the spelling test -

I'm pretty good. No problem there.

Imagine the astonishment

I felt at scoring four in ten!

So sentensed to the Hall of Shame

I join these unsuccessfull men.

An ugly Eighties spectre walks,

Though, so far, only south -

Accosts you in a crowded bar

And opens flapping mouth:

"Guess 'ow much our 'ouse is now

Since earlier on this year?

...By nearly forty thousand.

They're shooting up round here.

I mean, we've had ours valued,

Gone up three times so far.

That couple I feel sorry for.

Too bad. But there you are.

They got this shoebox up the road,

They rent it. Costs the earth.

If you don't mind me asking,

'Ow much is your gaff worth?"

Rugged, strong-jawed men take note:

New information come to hand

Would indicate you'll do alright,

Though only for a one-night stand.

The female cycle here's to blame,

Since women like the softer chaps,

But once a month their hormones rage

And only then do standards lapse.

Now, how the hell do you know when?

And what remains for you to do

But stick around for thirty days

And hope she throws herself at you?