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Keats, Newton and Luton

1 Leave a comment on verse 1 0 Today in class, History, period 3,
I gave the Kurdish refugees
2 Man. United English work books,
And they were thrilled when they looked
And lovingly copied the first words
Into their brand new History exercise books,
(Green means History, Maths is rum,
And so on across the curriculum).
They used their black ink pens
Until Hulya asked a question and then
I couldn’t quite understand her look,
Until I realised that as the words in the work book
Had changed from black to red, her look
Meant that she wanted a red pen too;
And while I thought I would be extending her ability
To manipulate language with facility,
She, with little language, just wanted mimicry
Of the visual world of colour,
And that for her would move her
Self-esteem forward to the level we all require.
Colour is so important as a signifier!
Until words and language play the liar,
For words and cultural baggage
(Richard of York Gained Battle In Vain)
Can operate on colour not so much as to establish
Categories and sort, but rather more distort;
So free yourself of guilt by association
And categorisation by pigmentation,
See the world as it is, not binary,
But a rainbow world of diversity and plurality,
Not black and white, day and night –
There’s more to the blackboard by a long chalk,
For you might just find that empathy made visible
Makes skin colour oblivious and invisible,
And that colour free 20/20 vision,
Will open your doors of perception
And help you see the world as it is.
“So, you see that rainbow over there by Luton,
What explains it, Keats or Newton?”
“One thing’s for sure”, said Gordon Bennett,
“It sure as hell won’t be eugenics.”

Written after reading the excellent messages of support from Bradford MP’s for Word Up on www.cbc-clcstudents.org.uk

Source: http://footballpoets.org/poems/keats-newton-and-luton/