Tag Archives: Plato

Poem 103: ANZAC Day – Only the dead

(Today is ANZAC Day in New Zealand and Australia, when we remember those who fought in wars. ANZAC stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. The date is set on the day of the greatest military loss of both countries in a single day: Gallipoli. The form of this poem is modelled on the Ghazal).

Foolish folk sometimes dream the end of war,
but peacetimes never mean the end of war.

No more dog eat dog; lion and lamb lie down;
is this a sign of being the end of war?

The cosmos consumes itself in chaos;
yet night sky seems serene, the end of war.

Let’s pray that earth will smack of peace, and know
in air, space, land, marine, the end of war.

Poor Bruce repeats old Plato on this day:
Only the dead have seen the end of war.

To hear the poem read aloud click HERE.

1633. A salutary lesson

Hugo was a teacher of the old school. He believed that students were born with empty heads and it was his job to stuff knowledge into them. SIT DOWN, SHUT UP, AND LEARN.

Guntar was a teacher of more contemporary times. He believed students were born with heads full of knowledge. It was his job to gently draw knowledge out. Good morning everyone. What would you like to talk about today? Perhaps we could share how we feel about it.

Hugo and Guntar taught at the same school at the same time. They were both successful teachers. One pushed knowledge in, the other sweet-talked knowledge out. Well, the next thing was (would you believe?) Guntar was appointed the headmaster. The more liberal stance became official; in fact, it became compulsory.

We care about people. It is the humane way. It takes into account where the students are at and how they feel. You must coax the knowledge lovingly out of each student.

Hugo didn’t think much of the new directive. He complained at a staff meeting. Guntar answered:

“You call yourself a teacher? It’s conservative, right wing idiots like you who are not open to new ideas. I suggest you SIT DOWN, SHUT UP, AND LEARN. As free-minded people we prefer to share and do things in a more open liberal way. So use your initiative and do it my way.”

These days Hugo delivers mail on foot from house to house. It’s a job. Guntar, on the other hand, has risen to new heights; he’s now a bigwig in the Department of Education. Teachers beware! You had better SIT DOWN, SHUT UP, AND LEARN to be open and tolerant.

Poem 17d: Only the dead have seen the end of war

17dsoldier

(January 2016 was my month for writing Pantoums. This is the fourth and last one for the month).

Only the dead have seen the end of war:
Plato said this back in Grecian days.
Not all the brave know what they’re fighting for;
If they knew they’d weigh the cause to stay.

Plato said this back in Grecian days:
Courage is knowing what not to fear.
If they knew they’d weigh the cause to stay;
A soldier’s in the Front because he’s there.

Courage is knowing what not to fear.
Plan B says turn around and run.
A soldier’s in the Front because he’s there;
Turn round and run and get shrapnel in your bum.

Plan B says turn around and run.
The world will brand you as a cream puff.
Turn round and run and get shrapnel in your bum;
Be pooh-poohed by those who never give a stuff.

The world will brand you as a cream puff.
Not all the brave know what they’re fighting for;
Be pooh-poohed by those who never give a stuff.
Only the dead have seen the end of war.