English poetry

Poems in English

Share of obligation

If the debate rages in the pages of the news today
Then I’m confused, I’ve searched and found no evidence.
Perhaps the anger of some residents about a Catholic school
That’s due to close because its roll has fallen lower
Than the threshold for support is not the sort of news that sells.
That only tells me why it isn’t there. I heard it on the breakfast
Show, a couple disembodied voices arched in anger, discussing
Choices, arguing pros and cons until the show moved on.
Am I wrong to labour on the point? The closure of a school disjoints
The fabric of its neighbourhood, it isn’t good, the issue is a moot
Of course – forever in dispute. So let us take a neutral
Stance, was it an act of governance? Or just an oversight
Of parents passing in the night? It’s not a symptom of the first,
I’m sure; the bureaucrats who hold the purse disport
Themselves with thorough care, no error there unless
They changed the basic rules and never said. And that
They never did. So where can one assign the blame?
It’s not as if this came out of the blue, their teachers
Knew as good, committed teachers always would,
So how they could discuss the case and miss the point
In team debate, not try to be proactive and precise,
Just sit and wait for providence, or just be nice
And negligent, or argue with a precedent
That holds for all denies their share of obligation.
Their school will close for lack of diligence
On part of people meant to take an active role
And seek solutions to resolve their shared
Duty of care, the answer’s there, and if they had
The issue would be dead. Instead we have
Debate about a school’s avoidable fate
Which condemns apathetic commitment
To their children’s education.
Let’s hope it’s not a symptom
Common throughout our Nation.

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Poem Share of obligation - Ivan Donn Carswell