Minister For Exams Poem by Brian Patten

Brian Patten

Liverpool / England

Minister For Exams

Rating: 4.5


When I was a child I sat an exam.
This test was so simple
There was no way i could fail.

Q1. Describe the taste of the Moon.

It tastes like Creation I wrote,
it has the flavour of starlight.

Q2. What colour is Love?

Love is the colour of the water a man
lost in the desert finds, I wrote.

Q3. Why do snowflakes melt?

I wrote, they melt because they fall
on to the warm tongue of God.

There were other questions.
They were as simple.

I described the grief of Adam
when he was expelled from Eden.
I wrote down the exact weight of
an elephant's dream

Yet today, many years later,
For my living I sweep the streets
or clean out the toilets of the fat
hotels.

Why? Because constantly I failed
my exams.
Why? Well, let me set a test.

Q1. How large is a child's
imagination?
Q2. How shallow is the soul of the
Minister for exams?

COMMENTS OF THE POEM
Lenchen Elf 08 January 2005

I would engrave this on the heart of all those formulating educational policy

6 6 Reply
Lydia Tate-Lovery 06 October 2018

Purely magical and full of stars ??

1 0 Reply
Joe Hughes 26 May 2014

Love it. Fresh imagery, scintillating. Thanks. Joe Hughes on Poemhunetr and on joehughes.org'uk

3 3 Reply
Sekharan Pookkat 31 May 2013

but you passed all the exams of life

7 3 Reply
Stevie Taite 13 May 2013

What a great poem about the real insignificance of exams. They don't shape us. We shouldn't let them. Furure should not rely so much of them. They do not account for all the different types of intelligence. Great poem!

5 4 Reply
Anita Gregory 03 September 2005

Never read this before, what an awesome poem.

6 4 Reply

Brian Patten

Liverpool / England
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