Monday, 30 May 2016

Hothousing Idiots

You can ban television until they leave home,
You can set them assignments, both written and read,
You can take them on cultural visits to Rome,
And cram lots of extra facts into each head:
Profound and arcane, from A through to Z.
But something you shouldn’t attempt, even once,
Is this sort of stuff with a child who’s a dunce.

You can make them learn violin, piano, bassoon,
The harpsichord, clarinet, organ and flute,
Insist that they know every classical tune:
Each plucked pizzicato, each whistling toot,
Each oompah-pah, cowbell, and honketty-hoot!
But, really, you shouldn’t attempt all this lot,
With a child who is clearly a bit of a clot.

You can make them learn Latin and Greek ‘for a laugh’,
Make linear equations ‘a rare, special treat’,
For ‘fun’ they can symbolise π on a graph,
While ‘break-time’ means ‘work which you have to repeat’,
As you turn up the dial which is marked ‘hothouse heat’.
But I wouldn’t expect any scholarly wins,
From a child who will one day be emptying bins.

You may showcase your offspring with no self-awareness,
We’ll sit there eyes glazed and quite unimpressed,
For stealing a childhood’s the height of unfairness;
Already we see that they’re properly stressed,
Neurotically blinking and likely depressed.
And I wouldn’t expect any filial love,
From a child who’s been ruined by all the above.


  1. A funny poem but with a meaningful message. Well done Fergus.