Multiple Choice (a poem)

A great art has been lost, 
before it ever truly began.
So needed, so wanted, yet still

I wonder 
Where have the thinkers gone?
Those curious innovators?

They must’ve disappeared,
forced to hide, to escape!
When faced with the fear of a
little wooden desk.

They didn’t belong in a place
where their vivid flame
that burned within 
would be extinguished 
by those who meant well.

In its place, a pulsing drum placed,
beating furiously to a beat of
A B C or D?

I long for them, 
mourn those
secrets left undiscovered,
the joy that accompanied; forgotten.

Like sheep killed by their shepherd,
a tragedy for the ages
as children become students.

But do not worry!
For the exam next week
is passed, flying colors
with small price to pay:
a fail on another.

The forgotten exam,
the one not written sitting in rows.
the one proctored not by a teacher
but by life.

I think to myself,
must be easy, for I’m prepared!
Those years of memorizing, the sleepless nights.
Except when I open the booklet,
a startling revelation!
I panic. There’s no 
A B C or D.

Post Note:

I nervously share one of the poems with world, unsure about it. When I try to compose poetry, I simply go with the rhythm of the words, go where they choose to take me. Maybe this is an effective approach, maybe not, time will tell. I’m very new to this, I’d love some feedback too.

The poem is more a reflection on education as a whole in society then my own personal experience, because my whole life I have been blessed with exceptional teachers who have cultivated my passions and stoked the embers of my curiosity. All great shepherds. No complaints from me, except that not every kid is privy to the same nurturing environments and education that I have received, and it is for those kids that this poem goes out to.

2 thoughts on “Multiple Choice (a poem)

  1. A good poem for reflection. As a teacher, am I quashing creativity and questioning by over-emphasizing testing? Am I truly preparing students for life? I am haunted and endlessly motivated by these questions. Keep it up. I appreciate your courage.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You definitely have a uniquely valuable perspective on this as a teacher. Testing has a place in education, as a motivator and levelling device. Benchmarks are needing in everything in life if you truly want to make progress. I have no doubt in my mind that if teachers and schools were given as much money and resources as needed, that creativity and passion would flourish. But when there are 30 kids in a classroom and the teacher has 4 such classes a day, kids are bound to slip through the cracks. An unfortunate reality of society. Overall, instead of thinking about over-testing and overworking, etc, my favourite perspective is to ask the question: if we made school optional, would students still attend? And what can be done so that every kid would want to? Perhaps there lies a key to betterment, who knows? Thanks for the comment.


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