Poetry is no laughing matter.
This piece has been written for The Comedy Open Mic Contest (Round 4)
I have been an English teacher now for ten years. I hate teaching film, I enjoy teaching Shakespeare, and I actually rather love teaching poetry – despite what my students would tell you.
One of the topics I love to teach is Romanticism. To explore the beauty of nature, to understand pantheistic tendencies – to go boldly into the wild and escape the world. To borrow from ‘The Dead Poet’s Society’ – to suck the marrow out of life!
I think it must have been in my second year out of University, I had a low literacy class of 15 year olds. It was a Friday afternoon, last period – you can imagine it – everyone dragging their feet, coming in sweaty from football and generally not too bothered to be there –
Questions like – would they be encountering Wordsworth of Keats or Lord Byron were not on the tips of their tongues. Despite the interesting background of the latter: he had a pet bear, he slept with his sister (as well as half of Europe) and was bankrupted - with death finding him at only 36 in his exile!
In giving out that afternoon’s poem for discussion, I had a young lady named Daisy become passionate, ‘Isn’t it beautiful’ – she kept saying over and over. Ever time, I’d excitedly agree and she would stare deeper into the words on the page, fixed on the images the words implied.
I left the class feeling chuffed with myself; finally, I had had a break through. I swaggered back to the staffroom, swaggered over to my desk, and with a sense of bravado, shared my success with my colleagues – Unfortunately, the Deputy Principal was in the staffroom to let me know the young women had spent her entire lunch getting high in the toilets.
It turns out poetry is better when you’re stoned.