Ruth Kelsey

 

 

 

Invigilation

In fifty years there’ll only be the
sanitised versions, adaptations
printed in school text-books, papers
analysed to death by academics;
another chapter of our dubious past
to be studied, scrutinised, peer-reviewed,
no emotion, no regret, no tears.

Hindsight will by then be clear, unbiased,
conclusions coldly logical; exam scripts
marked impartially to strict criteria:
To what extent…
Evaluate…
Contrast, and then compare…

And the memories of those who
actually were there, who voted,
battled, marched, or wish they had,
will then be gone or half-forgotten –
misremembered, some will say –
as hard-won calm and harmony
becomes again the only way to live.
Most young will scarcely recognise
their ancestors’ self-ruin, nor truly grasp
the reasons for the wrath that followed.

Instead, in sterile, silent school halls all
our madness will be written out in
three fast-flowing hours, new futures
now dependent on our past:
What were the causes of…?
What role did politicians play…?

How do we stop seeds of hate
thought dormant to re-germinate;
begin to sprout again like
choking, grotesque weeds.

Discuss.

 

 

Ruth Kelsey studied creative writing at the University of Leeds. She’s often found at spoken word events in the Leeds area, and has recently had work published in Check Hope Remains (125th & Midnight).

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