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Oh Africa!

oh! my continent
where my people starve for food,
where my people are suffering,
with extreme poverty.
where things interchange
corruption for the leader,
hopeless for the citizen,
poverty for the people,
street for the lunatic,
Rigging for the election,
jobless for the educative,
fraud for the youth,
expensive cars for the politicians,
laughage film for the white,
crying bitter things for the Black,
should we call this fate?
The fifty_four caps had turned Africa to something else,
The fifty_four caps has now unable to fit us.

poem by from Oh Africa! (21 March 2020), translated by Agbaje SamsonReport problemRelated quotes
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The Impact Of Poverty On Education

THE IMPACT OF POVERTY ON EDUCATION.

INTRODUCTION

There are so many different tools that have been thought relevant in people’s developmental projects both at individual and societal levels. Education is one of such practical tools. Importantly to note, there are also various meanings that denote the broad term ‘education’. In this essay, however, we are mainly interested in defining formal education since our discussion will dwell much on it. According to Nwomonoh (1998) , formal education is the process of gaining knowledge, attitudes, information and skills during the course of life especially at school.

Though education is said to be so instrumental in human development but also in the revamping of world economies, it is very unfortunate that education systems, world wide, are being held to ransom all because of poverty at both governmental and household levels. According to Thibault (2009) , poverty means the shortage of common things such as food, clothing, shelter and safe drinking water, all of which determine our quality of life. It may also include lack of access to opportunities like education and employment which aid the escape of poverty.

Problems in our society are interconnected in one way or the other, just like poverty and personal family problems affect a student’s capability to learn. Improving education entails improving the living conditions of students. Having in mind that education is basically responsible for the development of many countries including Malawi, as the back ground suggests, we cannot afford to bypass such a vital element without a mention. Considering also the fact that poverty is one of the forces that come in the way; blocking the success of education, we feel it rational to look at how the two realities, education and poverty, affect each other both positively and negatively. That is also why we are convinced that this topic is worth studying. Our awareness of this source, poverty, and its impact on education will enable us devise some proper measures of intervention with the hope of minimizing the negative impact of poverty on education. This point, in short, explains the purpose of our investigation and why we are so passionate in getting into this research. During the whole discussion we are being guided by two questions thus, ‘does poverty really affect education? And if it does, what points do we have on the positive and negative impacts of poverty on education? ’

METHODOLOGY

The study was basically qualitative in approach because of the nature of the issue that was being addressed. This was the case because the issue of how poverty affects education, both positively and negatively is particularly very difficult to predict the conclusions without penetrating into the core of the issue. For instance, one may unreasonably rush into concluding that poverty affects education negatively only and we cannot even dare to speak of poverty affecting education positively. The study was conducted in three schools namely; Mulunguzi, Masongola and Chirunga Private Secondary schools in Zomba district between 24th April and 3rd May. In this research we used both government and private funded schools to have a more balanced result on how poverty affects formal education in these different institutions. The information required for the study was collected through group interviews of form three students and individual interviews with teachers using semi-structured interview schedules. We opted to use these interviews in the first place because we felt books are more theoretical whereas a field research is practical and it involves real life experiences. Nevertheless, we still used desk research as a supplementary source of information and for clarity in some areas.

RESULTS

Positive impacts of poverty on education
To begin with, poverty encourages one to get educated and of course work hard in class. This is because the problems faced due to poverty are very serious and therefore students who are from poverty stricken families strive to end the problems and one of the best solutions is through education. That is to say, if a person, for instance, due to poverty, is taking just a meal in a day instead of three meals, and again if he/she is sometimes sleeping on an empty stomach, he/she will resort to education bearing in mind that if he/she gets educated they will secure formal employment and eventually be able to make ends meet for themselves as well as fending for their families.

Not only does poverty encourage one to get educated, but also it helped in the introduction of free primary education. In Malawi, for instance, when Bakili Muluzi became president, he introduced free primary education and he had eliminated the requirements for school uniform forthwith (Kadzamira & Rose,2001) . This had increased the access to education dramatically as those pupils who were coming from less privileged families were also given access to this free primary education. It should also be noted that the free primary education system was not only implemented to fulfill an electoral pledge but also bearing in mind that some families were not able to send their children to school due to poverty. Free primary education was there to deal with illiteracy by reducing families’ direct costs of education. Again due to the influx in the number of pupils in primary schools; there was a lack of teachers. Sonani (2002) , testifies that the Ministry of Education re-employed all retired teachers below the age of 65. This also meant that the once retired teachers got back to their source of income which helped them support their families as well as hauling the economy of the country. The implementation of free primary education system in Malawi forced the government to provide infrastructures so as to accommodate the large number of pupils in these schools. Simply put, poverty had led to the introduction of free primary education which means that more children are going to school, and again more teachers are being trained and getting employed and finally the construction of school blocks culminating into infrastructural development, all these branching from poverty.

We may also look at poverty from a positive angle bearing in mind that when a country is poor more funds and donations come into it. These funds and donations are also given to the education sector to build new infrastructures and in the maintenance of already existing ones in the sector. These privileged countries also provide learning materials to schools that are poor as a result students in these less privileged schools perform well in accordance with the amount and quality of the learning materials that they have been provided with. For instance, a United States based non governmental organization known as “Water for People” handed over 44 water toilets they built to Chimwankhunda primary school. The school toilet facilities had been vandalized 11 years ago but because of poverty the school could not renovate them (Gausi,2007) .

In addition, these funds and donations help more people to get educated. This is so because people can use funds as school fees, pocket money and buy stationery. The donations may include library books, chairs and writing materials. These can make a conducive environment for one to learn since there will be enough facilities at the school. For instance, with funding from the “United States Agency for International Development” (USAID) ,3,300 needy Malawian primary school girls are being funded. They are being provided with food, clothing, school supplies and hygienic products like soap and body lotion (Muhaliwa,2005) . Likewise,500 pupils at Katoto primary school in Mzuzu no longer sit on the floors during lessons courtesy of Southern Bottlers Limited and Lions Club of Limbe. Before these funds and donations, pupils used to sit on the floor due to scarcity of desks. These donations improved the pupils’ school attendance in such a way that pupils have started going to school regularly.

In the same line, a needy student can be given a scholarship to go further with his/her education. In this case the scholarship is given to the person just because he/she cannot manage to pay school fees on her own. This in turn benefits the needy person and the community at large. In this situation poverty has assisted in the development of education in an area by beckoning funds and donations from rich countries and organisations.

Further more; in most cases poverty facilitates one’s ambitions to attain formal education. It becomes easier for a poor child to put much of his concentration on education as compared to a rich child. This is because a poverty stricken student will have less destructive materials for entertainment. He/she will also have less or no money to indulge him/herself in activities that require spending a lot of money for instance, drinking beer. Sometimes even if the child can find money he/she can buy basic needs and not just spending it anyhow. Contrast to this a rich child may obtain things like ipods, mp3s, games for entertainment. These things in most cases destruct the concentration of students in their studies. As a result, one’s class performance is negatively affected since most of his/her time is being spent on entertainment.

Negative impacts of poverty on education

Just as a coin has got two sides, a head and a tail, poverty also, apart from having positive impacts on education, it does have negative impacts on the same. We have talked much about the positive face of poverty on education. We shall surely do ourselves injustice if we do not look at the negative part. In spite of the fact that poverty has an impact on education that is worth complimenting, we cannot afford in this discussion to overlook the point that so many students have been forced to leave the corridors of learning institutions due to the same poverty. One of the reasons that force some students leave the learning institutions prematurely is pregnancy, which in most cases, come because of poverty. It is almost common knowledge that a good number of students who come from poor families wish they could be sailing in the same boat with those who come from well to do families as far as luxurious life is concerned. The poor students constantly feel that there is something missing at the core psychologically. With this feeling in their minds, they tend to regard themselves as incomplete and not accepted socially. Consequently, they envy the rich students and squarely want to posses the things that are associated with the rich students. Very unfortunate that the poor students’ parents cannot afford to fulfill their children’s desires like what the rich parents would provide. Because the pull towards recognition is too strong for the poor students to resist, they end up in indulging themselves into prostitution in their search for money. Pity indeed that instead of recreating, as anticipated, their promiscuous behavior sees most of them getting pregnant and for some very unfortunate ones get even HIV and other STIs. From this discussion, commonsense convinces us that this school dropp out due to pregnancy is one of the negative impacts of poverty on education.

Adding more flesh to this discussion, we can also appreciate that hunger has been so instrumental in bringing down the standards of education world wide, in general, and Malawi, in particular. Frankly speaking, there are very few students if not none, who concentrate on their studies on empty stomachs. Food is one of the basic needs that every person is obliged to have if he/she is to survive. It is not surprising, therefore, to see some students performing miserably in class simply because they have not taken enough food or they have taken none altogether. The question of hunger finds its way into the education system because the government has failed to provide adequate food in most of its boarding schools. This is poverty at governmental level. There are also some students who are not boarders but still endure the hostile reality of hunger right in their homes. This is due to poverty at household level. It is sad that poverty, both at governmental and household level, has helped in engineering the deteriorating of education standards in Malawi.

Bearing in mind that it is only the eagle that can tell us the real whisper of a cloud, we visited Masongola Secondary school with the hope of getting first hand information from the students and their teachers since they are the ones who mostly benefit or get destructed by poverty. The Masongola secondary school students and their teacher, Mr. Enock Abraham, testified to us during an interview that government’s inability to provide extra food, apart from the usual beans that the institution offers, has seen many students developing ulcers. It would sound bizarre to reason that one can attend classes whilst he/she is on a hospital bed battling with ulcers. The Masongola students further testified that most poor students who have ulcers just bow down out of the race of learning because they cannot afford to buy extra food whenever the institution is serving the students beans.

This pitiful development goes beyond the boundaries of Masongola secondary school. Mulunguzi secondary school as Mr……the head teacher at the institution testifies, has not been spared from the scourge of school dropp outs simply because the school has not been able to provide extra or adequate food to students who cannot take what their friends take on health grounds. Needless to say this leaves the education standards in Malawi vacillating. It is a pity that though we have wrestled with this question of poverty a dozen times, we have not been successful in the battle. At one point in time, the government attempted to minimize the chances of school dropout in primary schools through its provision of porridge to pupils in the junior section. This attempt was in itself a good gesture but the government has failed to implement the initiative further in other schools that up to now have not benefited from the program.

It may not sound an exaggeration if we may say poverty has also forced a good number of students to give up their hopes of getting educated simply because they find it so difficult traveling to and from their respective schools. Lack of transport means, in short, has pushed them well towards the blink of despair as far as attaining formal education is concerned. This point speaks for itself how poverty can sometimes work on the education’s disadvantage.

As we go further with this discussion, we also appreciate the fact that the problem that mostly hinders a student’s success is inadequate resources that include; few teachers and learning materials. It must be highlighted that these problems are not only in developing countries but they may also find their way in reasonably developed countries like South Africa. In a developing country like Malawi, the education system encounters these problems because of the government’s failure to look into problems of infrastructure, capacity and availability of teaching and learning materials (Nkawike,2005) . The Muluzi government did a little if any; in as far as infrastructure is concerned. Lack of school blocks facilitated by a large number of pupils due to the introduction of the free primary education in 1994, forced pupils to have lessons under trees. In 2003, for example, lack of school blocks resulted in a tragedy at Nkomachi in Lilongwe when a tree fell onto an outdoor class, resulting in injury and deaths of pupils (Mvula & Chanika,2004) . This problem of learning materials continues till date, in all levels of the education system. According to Abraham (2009) , the school has always had shortage of learning blocks to an extent that the Physical Science and Biology laboratories are used as classrooms. There is also great shortage of books in all departments, and some departments like the technical department needs new equipment and current books which are very expensive. With this unfortunate situation we cannot anticipate good performance from Masongola secondary school.

In order to deal with these issues, the Muluzi government thought it wise to disregard the provision of learning materials in schools. Instead the Malawi School Certificate of Education (MSCE) pass mark was reduced to ensure the success of students in their examinations. Even the director of Basic Education, Nelson Kaperemera admitted that funds intended for learning materials were servicing the debts of government at the expense of improving quality education. Instead of reducing the pass mark, the government and other stake holders should strive to improve quality of education, improve teacher salaries, and provide adequate materials and train teachers properly (Malawi News,2006) .

In developing countries like Malawi, the schools are understaffed (teaching personnel) and they tend to be handling a large number of students for long hours. Furthermore, the teachers are subjected to meager salaries, which are even made late. The government does not seem to have the welfare of teachers at heart, for instance the education Manager for Phalombe, Enoch Ali says the district is facing a dire shortage of teachers, a situation that is contributing to low education standards. The teacher pupil ratio in Phalombe is 1: 120, whilst the recommended ratio is 1: 60 (The Nation,2006) . Due to low pay teachers resort to organizing part time classes, which demand an extra amount of money on top of the normal fees. These changes clearly affect those students who come from very poor families, as they do not receive adequate studies because of lack of money.
This does not only occur in secondary schools, but it also happens in universities. As the academic staff of the Universities go on strike because of the government’s reluctance to increase their salaries. One considers how this is supposed to retain staff in the University. As a result lecturers spend more time doing consultancies; instead of preparing lectures and doing University mandated research. If we are serious about fighting poverty, formal education is the hub of ideas to fight these problems by improving its standards (Kapasula,2008) .
Child labour is one of the major problems that contribute to school dropp out. The majority of child labour victims are children who are living in poverty. This is so because they lack basic needs, for this reason they are forced even against their will to do any kind of work in order to gain financial wealth. This, therefore, affects school attendance. Evidence of school dropp out due to child labour is found in central region where most children are being employed in estates. This region has high tobacco production. Since this crop demands a lot of work, children are at high demand because they do not claim high wages compared to adults. Research, therefore, showed that the percentage of children attending schools is lower compared to that of northern and southern region (Nyirongo,2004) . We have the case of two brothers aged between 12 and 15 who were forced to work at a tobacco farm at Mpherembe in Kasungu district, where they were receiving 150 kwacha a day due to poverty (Namangale,2005) . We can see that child labour has a great impact on education because through it, a lot of children are being deprived of their right to education as they spend most of their time working.

In addition to that, Chirwa (2003) found out that child labour is also taking place in people’s houses. In this case children are forced to dropp out of school either by parents or on their own, to work in neighbouring homes. Here one of the victims is a 12 year old girl Elizabeth Chalimba, who left school when she was in standard six to work as a nanny in order to support her siblings. Children from low income families are at risk because though school is their only hope for a better future, they dropp out because their parents are failing to provide them with basic needs. Apart from child labour, psychological problems due to poverty is also another cause of school dropp outs. Research shows that the impact of poverty is greater on children as opposed to adults. Firstly, the problem arises due to the environment in which these children are raised. These environments being impoverished, they are intellectually unstimulating, and lack of stimulation results in impaired intellectual development of a child. This in turn contributes to failure in class which can later on lead to school dropp out.

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Corruption

From the drip drip drip of the teardrops
To the chink chink chink of the cash
To the end end end of the friendships
To the wack wack wack of the bash
Corruption corruption corruption
Rules my soul
Corruption corruption corruption
Rules my soul
From the tick tick tick of your times up
To the yes yes yes of Ill sell
From the fact fact fact of the souless
To the pact pact pact with hell
Corruption corruption corruption
Rules my soul
Corruption corruption corruption
Chills my bones
Corruption corruption corruption
Rules my soul
Corruption corruption corruption
Chills my bones
From the scream scream scream of the babies
To the retch retch retch of the youth
From the lie lie lie of the righteous
To the lost lost lost way I feel
Corruption corruption corruption
Rules my bones
Corruption corruption corruption
Chills my bones
Corruption corruption corruption
Rules my soul
Corruption corruption corruption
Rules my soul
Corruption
Corruption
Order in the court
Decision to abort
The monkey wants to speak
So speak, monkey speak
Speak monkey, speak
Speak monkey, speak
Speak monkey, speak
Everything leads to corruption
Everything leads to corruption
Corruption

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Overweight with Food

Are you just a tub of lard and
Vastly overweight?
Do you think that when you die you'll
Need a piano crate
To act as coffin for your frame? -
Chosen as you die in shame, with
Only you to take the blame
For years of eating much the same:
A daily calorific fest
Gourmands of your ilk digest!

Is your heart in final fling and
Nearly set to burst?
Are your arteries bunged and clogged and
Feeling now the worst
For wear? - your aneurysm fit to blow
While blood as thick as rising dough
Cries 'Halt! ' to any hope of flow:
A dreadful state to put on show
In front of any nurse!
Best you hail a hearse.


Copyright Mark R Slaughter 2009

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Wish List (votes for sale)

It’s election time again
Picture postcards in the mail
Election time again
On every campaign trail
Election time, election time, election time

It’s election time,
A photo opportunity everywhere
Yes election time,
Cleaner streets and cleaner air,
Election time, election time, election time

In every seat across the nation
Never seen so much enthusiasm
So many nice people wanting to shake my hand
Tell me they’ll do all they can
To fill my wish list

It’s election time,
And they’re all promising to do more
Yes election time
Than they did before
Election time, election time, election time

I’d love to have a house by the sea
Handpick my neighbors to suit me
Drive a car on my own road
Free education for young and old
A health system that doesn’t tear at the seems
Throw in world peace by two thirteen (2013)

It’s election time
Picture postcards in the mail
Election time
On every campaign trail
Election time, election time, election time

I’d love to have a house by the sea
Handpick my neighbors to suit me
Drive a car on my own road
Free education for young and old
A health system that doesn’t tear at the seems
Throw in world peace by two thirteen (2013)

The future for our children, may hold a little pain
But who’ll bite the bullet, come election time
Election time, election time, election time


Copyright Colin Coplin 2005 (updated 2010)

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Cars Are Cars

Words & music by paul simon 1983
Cars are cars all over the world
Cars are cars all over the world
Similarly made. similarly sold
In a motorcade. abandoned when theyre old
Cars are cars all over the world
Cars are cars all over the world
Cars are cars all over the world
Engine in the front. jack in the back
Wheels take the brunt. pinion and a rack
Cars are cars all over the world
Cars are cars all over the world
But people are strangers
They change with the curve
From time zone to time zone
As we can observe
They shut down their borders
And think theyre immune
They stand on their differences
And shoot at the moon
But cars are cars all over the world
Cars are cars all over the world
Drive em on the left. drive em on the right
Susceptible to theft in the middle of the night
Cars are cars all over the world
Cars are cars all over the world
I once had a car
That was more like a home
I lived in it, loved in it
Polished its chrome
If some of my homes
Had been more like my car
I probably wouldnt have
Travelled this far
Cars are cars all over the world
Cars are cars all over the world
Cars are cars all over the world
Cars are cars all over the world
Cars are cars all over the world

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The Lone White Wolf: The Hunt

As the first day of the new moon creeps into the trees, no wolf among the pack gathers to see the light overcome the darkness to bring in the new day except the lone white wolf. This peculiar wolf is almost solid white except for the black along the length of his nose. It watches over the pack as they peacefully sleep, unaware of his eyes that could protect everything that was soon to come.

Today was the first day of the long hunt for the white wolf. He must bring down an animal that could feed the whole pack for several days, so he could become an official member of the pack, but more importantly, he must prove himself to be one with the pack instead of running alone.

The leader of the wolf pack slowly raises his head like a turtle to look around to see who’s awake. He sees all the wolves are still asleep in a tight circle except the outcast. The leader doesn’t understand why this wolf sleeps alone nor does he understand why the wolf was born white instead of gray. The white wolf stirs from his wakeful sleep. The eyes of the self-proclaimed leader stay on him before moving off to look into the distance searching for all the answers to his questions among the countless trees.

The leader of the wolf pack slowly gets up and walks to the lone wolf and nudges him to sound the morning howl. It was customary for the leader of the wolf pack to do this, but for reasons unknown to any wolf besides the leader, the wolf chose the outcast to sound the howl. The white wolf understands and gives a howl to stir the remaining wolves out of their deep slumber.

Once all the wolves are fully awake and able to comprehend what today is and what it means for the outcast, they realize it is the first day of the new moon. It is the first day of the long hunt. All of the wolves first look to the leader, then to the outcast, then back to the leader wondering who is going to give the special howl to begin the long hunt. No wolf willingly howled the beginning of the long hunt because if the howl was bad, the hunt would go badly, but if the howl was good, the hunt would go smoothly and the hunt would be short. The answer is soon apparent when the eyes of the leader look over the pack to see whose eyes would meet his. None but one pair kept his gaze.

The leader gave a sign, and the wolf began to prepare to give the special howl that would determine the outcome of the hunt. A wolf could not open its muzzle and give an ordinary howl since the hunt would also go badly. To give the special howl the wolf must pull back its hind legs and brace itself to make sure all legs are securely anchored to the ground so that the wolf, while giving the special howl would not slide backwards during the middle of it.

The lone wolf was ready mentally and physically to give the special howl. Once his feet were securely on the ground, the wolf began the howl. The lone white wolf put everything in his howl: the pain of being an outcast his entire life, the anger at his individuality, everything was put into that howl. Wolves stepped back with their fur standing on end; birds flew away squawking bloody murder. The others started yipping and snapping at nothing in particular remembering everything they’d ever felt. After the lone wolf was done, he realized the effect his special howl had on the wolves and he noticed the disarray and confusion that he had caused.

The leader is satisfied and gets the pack into order; it was time to begin the hunt. The wolves began running, their muscles rippling beneath their skin. Nothing could stop them. Their destination was a mile and a half down the road where the large game was located. Running freely among the wolf pack, the lone wolf didn’t feel like an outcast, but whenever he began to get too close, a shallow snip on the shoulder would shove him away to a safer distance.

The game was just ahead; it was time for the lone wolf to prove himself to the pack. The lone wolf went ahead of the pack and picked one of the biggest caribou he could find and slowly approached while the pack followed. The wolves lurched like a bullet from a gun onto the caribou with the white wolf clinging to the exposed flesh of the neck bringing it to the ground but not before it got one last kick in. The kill was successful; the caribou was dead. It was then that the white wolf noticed the bloody mess of the leader of the pack. The last kick of the now dead caribou landed on the skull of the leader, and he was dead instantly. The sight was a grizzly one with his skull caved in and blood gushing out of the wound.

The self-proclaimed leader was dead with no next-in-line to follow. Every wolf looked to the now dead leader, then to the outcast, then back to the dead leader, and then back to the outcast. The white wolf met the eyes of each wolf and got an unspoken request from each one. It was unanimous; the previous outcast of the pack became the leader. For the first time in history, a white wolf was chosen to lead and will lead the wolves to a prosperity the wolves have never known.

2009 October

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Salad is Incompatible with Life

Yes, my waist is fifty inches -
Big for me because I'm short.
And yes, I like my cheddar cheese
When partnered with a vintage port.

Okay, okay, that double cream
Is always served with pud,
And cake and biscuits with my tea
Are just no bloody good

For my poor hardened arteries,
But see my point of view,
Please dear wifey if you please,
A Salad makes me spew!

I'd rather eat a bowl of air
Than crunch away on greens;
Drink water from the toilet bowl
Or nibble on my jeans!

But salad! Are you there?
You know it makes me snappy -
So let me fill my face with grub,
Stay fat, and die young happy!

Copyright Mark R Slaughter 2009

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Model Citizen

Be an Arab
Be a Jew
Be a boxing
Kangaroo
Beat yourself
All black and blue
I don't care
Be a bleeder
Be a Cancer
A hemophiliac
Romancer
Be a crippled disco
Dancer
Oooh... What a pair
He's a model citizen
I think I've got them fooled them again
He's an ultra-sweety guy
And a master of disguise
He's a model citizen
Just keep believing that my friends
I'm a model citizen
I'm a model citizen
I'm a model citizen
I'm a model citizen
I'm an all American!!!
I'm a hostage
In a city of creeps
They've got mercenary guards
That watch me sleep
They'd like to kill me slow
Bury me deep
In the heart of Texas
I'm a martyr
I'm a sadist
I might be the Saviour here to save us
I'm a friend of Sammy Davis, casually
He's a model citizen
I think I've got them fooled again
He's an ultra-sweety guy
I won't let down my disguise
He's a model citizen
Just keep believing that my friends
I'm a model citizen
I'm a model citizen
I'm a model citizen
I'm a model citizen
I'm an all American
I'm a model citizen
I'm a model citizen
I'm a model citizen

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The House Of Dust: Complete

I.

The sun goes down in a cold pale flare of light.
The trees grow dark: the shadows lean to the east:
And lights wink out through the windows, one by one.
A clamor of frosty sirens mourns at the night.
Pale slate-grey clouds whirl up from the sunken sun.

And the wandering one, the inquisitive dreamer of dreams,
The eternal asker of answers, stands in the street,
And lifts his palms for the first cold ghost of rain.
The purple lights leap down the hill before him.
The gorgeous night has begun again.

'I will ask them all, I will ask them all their dreams,
I will hold my light above them and seek their faces.
I will hear them whisper, invisible in their veins . . .'
The eternal asker of answers becomes as the darkness,
Or as a wind blown over a myriad forest,
Or as the numberless voices of long-drawn rains.

We hear him and take him among us, like a wind of music,
Like the ghost of a music we have somewhere heard;
We crowd through the streets in a dazzle of pallid lamplight,
We pour in a sinister wave, ascend a stair,
With laughter and cry, and word upon murmured word;
We flow, we descend, we turn . . . and the eternal dreamer
Moves among us like light, like evening air . . .

Good-night! Good-night! Good-night! We go our ways,
The rain runs over the pavement before our feet,
The cold rain falls, the rain sings.
We walk, we run, we ride. We turn our faces
To what the eternal evening brings.

Our hands are hot and raw with the stones we have laid,
We have built a tower of stone high into the sky,
We have built a city of towers.

Our hands are light, they are singing with emptiness.
Our souls are light; they have shaken a burden of hours . . .
What did we build it for? Was it all a dream? . . .
Ghostly above us in lamplight the towers gleam . . .
And after a while they will fall to dust and rain;
Or else we will tear them down with impatient hands;
And hew rock out of the earth, and build them again.


II.

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The Booker Washington Trilogy

I. A NEGRO SERMON:—SIMON LEGREE

(To be read in your own variety of negro dialect.)


Legree's big house was white and green.
His cotton-fields were the best to be seen.
He had strong horses and opulent cattle,
And bloodhounds bold, with chains that would rattle.
His garret was full of curious things:
Books of magic, bags of gold,
And rabbits' feet on long twine strings.
But he went down to the Devil.

Legree he sported a brass-buttoned coat,
A snake-skin necktie, a blood-red shirt.
Legree he had a beard like a goat,
And a thick hairy neck, and eyes like dirt.
His puffed-out cheeks were fish-belly white,
He had great long teeth, and an appetite.
He ate raw meat, 'most every meal,
And rolled his eyes till the cat would squeal.

His fist was an enormous size
To mash poor niggers that told him lies:
He was surely a witch-man in disguise.
But he went down to the Devil.

He wore hip-boots, and would wade all day
To capture his slaves that had fled away.
But he went down to the Devil.

He beat poor Uncle Tom to death
Who prayed for Legree with his last breath.
Then Uncle Tom to Eva flew,
To the high sanctoriums bright and new;
And Simon Legree stared up beneath,
And cracked his heels, and ground his teeth:
And went down to the Devil.

He crossed the yard in the storm and gloom;
He went into his grand front room.
He said, "I killed him, and I don't care."
He kicked a hound, he gave a swear;
He tightened his belt, he took a lamp,
Went down cellar to the webs and damp.
There in the middle of the mouldy floor
He heaved up a slab, he found a door —
And went down to the Devil.

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V. Count Guido Franceschini

Thanks, Sir, but, should it please the reverend Court,
I feel I can stand somehow, half sit down
Without help, make shift to even speak, you see,
Fortified by the sip of … why, 't is wine,
Velletri,—and not vinegar and gall,
So changed and good the times grow! Thanks, kind Sir!
Oh, but one sip's enough! I want my head
To save my neck, there's work awaits me still.
How cautious and considerate … aie, aie, aie,
Nor your fault, sweet Sir! Come, you take to heart
An ordinary matter. Law is law.
Noblemen were exempt, the vulgar thought,
From racking; but, since law thinks otherwise,
I have been put to the rack: all's over now,
And neither wrist—what men style, out of joint:
If any harm be, 't is the shoulder-blade,
The left one, that seems wrong i' the socket,—Sirs,
Much could not happen, I was quick to faint,
Being past my prime of life, and out of health.
In short, I thank you,—yes, and mean the word.
Needs must the Court be slow to understand
How this quite novel form of taking pain,
This getting tortured merely in the flesh,
Amounts to almost an agreeable change
In my case, me fastidious, plied too much
With opposite treatment, used (forgive the joke)
To the rasp-tooth toying with this brain of mine,
And, in and out my heart, the play o' the probe.
Four years have I been operated on
I' the soul, do you see—its tense or tremulous part—
My self-respect, my care for a good name,
Pride in an old one, love of kindred—just
A mother, brothers, sisters, and the like,
That looked up to my face when days were dim,
And fancied they found light there—no one spot,
Foppishly sensitive, but has paid its pang.
That, and not this you now oblige me with,
That was the Vigil-torment, if you please!
The poor old noble House that drew the rags
O' the Franceschini's once superb array
Close round her, hoped to slink unchallenged by,—
Pluck off these! Turn the drapery inside out
And teach the tittering town how scarlet wears!
Show men the lucklessness, the improvidence
Of the easy-natured Count before this Count,
The father I have some slight feeling for,
Who let the world slide, nor foresaw that friends
Then proud to cap and kiss their patron's shoe,
Would, when the purse he left held spider-webs,
Properly push his child to wall one day!

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Through the eyes of a Field Coronet (Epic)

Introduction

In the kaki coloured tent in Umbilo he writes
his life’s story while women, children and babies are dying,
slowly but surely are obliterated, he see how his nation is suffering
while the events are notched into his mind.

Lying even heavier on him is the treason
of some other Afrikaners who for own gain
have delivered him, to imprisonment in this place of hatred
and thoughts go through him to write a book.


Prologue

The Afrikaner nation sprouted
from Dutchmen,
who fought decades without defeat
against the super power Spain

mixed with French Huguenots
who left their homes and belongings,
with the revocation of the Edict of Nantes.
Associate this then with the fact

that these people fought formidable
for seven generations
against every onslaught that they got
from savages en wild animals

becoming marksmen, riding
and taming wild horses
with one bullet per day
to hunt a wild antelope,

who migrated right across the country
over hills in mass protest
and then you have
the most formidable adversary
and then let them fight

in a natural wilderness
where the hunter,
the sniper and horseman excels
and any enemy is at a lost.

Let them then also be patriotic
into their souls,
believe in and read
out of the word of God

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II. Half-Rome

What, you, Sir, come too? (Just the man I'd meet.)
Be ruled by me and have a care o' the crowd:
This way, while fresh folk go and get their gaze:
I'll tell you like a book and save your shins.
Fie, what a roaring day we've had! Whose fault?
Lorenzo in Lucina,—here's a church
To hold a crowd at need, accommodate
All comers from the Corso! If this crush
Make not its priests ashamed of what they show
For temple-room, don't prick them to draw purse
And down with bricks and mortar, eke us out
The beggarly transept with its bit of apse
Into a decent space for Christian ease,
Why, to-day's lucky pearl is cast to swine.
Listen and estimate the luck they've had!
(The right man, and I hold him.)

Sir, do you see,
They laid both bodies in the church, this morn
The first thing, on the chancel two steps up,
Behind the little marble balustrade;
Disposed them, Pietro the old murdered fool
To the right of the altar, and his wretched wife
On the other side. In trying to count stabs,
People supposed Violante showed the most,
Till somebody explained us that mistake;
His wounds had been dealt out indifferent where,
But she took all her stabbings in the face,
Since punished thus solely for honour's sake,
Honoris causâ, that's the proper term.
A delicacy there is, our gallants hold,
When you avenge your honour and only then,
That you disfigure the subject, fray the face,
Not just take life and end, in clownish guise.
It was Violante gave the first offence,
Got therefore the conspicuous punishment:
While Pietro, who helped merely, his mere death
Answered the purpose, so his face went free.
We fancied even, free as you please, that face
Showed itself still intolerably wronged;
Was wrinkled over with resentment yet,
Nor calm at all, as murdered faces use,
Once the worst ended: an indignant air
O' the head there was—'t is said the body turned
Round and away, rolled from Violante's side
Where they had laid it loving-husband-like.
If so, if corpses can be sensitive,
Why did not he roll right down altar-step,
Roll on through nave, roll fairly out of church,
Deprive Lorenzo of the spectacle,

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Picking Teachers For Their Leader

Strangers!
Come before the darkness of night,
Crawls.
As twilight escorts the rising moon!
Strangers...
Known in dreams.
Whisper of their presence unseen.
But felt...
By a familiar comfort embraced.

My steps cease to seek a quickened pace.
There is no wish for leaving.
I am told in my mind I should stay.
Soft voices dance within rainbowed light!
Sparkling to convince...
I should pray with faith.
And they would make my life right!

Picking teachers for their Leader.
For the One never shown.
The One who through scriptures...
Repeated to make appear,
But left still for them to go unknown.

Picking teachers for their Leader.
How they do it like it's done...
When they come,
Nobody knows.

Their picking teachers for their Leader.
They say He's number One.
Like none other like He,
Upon me with gifts bestowed!

Strangers!
Come before the darkness of night,
Crawls.
As twilight escorts the rising moon!
Strangers...
Known in dreams.
Whisper of their presence unseen.
But felt...
By a familiar comfort embraced.

Their picking teachers for their Leader.
As God demands.
Their picking teachers for their Leader.
As God Commands.
Their picking teachers for their Leader.
And I understand...

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Citizen

Citizen
A cure to kill the east
A disease of the west
Romance is no escape
But Ill escape you
The manufacturing sound
Complaining to ourselves
Youre cutting up our friends
Making love to our sisters
Another endless day
Another daze
But Im losing track
The train goes off the rails
Dance of the youth
Youth want to dance
Citizen
The tribal war begins
But radios a god
Industrial money
God is industry
Dance of youth
Citizen you know what were after
Know what were after
Know what were after
Citizen
The state that weve come to love
Loves a crime against the state
I hate the sound of bells
Communications lost
Something were after
I hate democracy
One more contact lost
Love
A crime against the state
The state weve come to love
Oh electric candle light
What time is it over there
We got to wear a badge
Were losing track of days
Dance of the youth
Youth want to dance
Citizen
Ill share a room with you
Youre getting so very thin
Did we ask for this
Are you rationing our water
Dance of the youth
Our food is getting cold
And youre getting colder
I see you

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John Milton

Paradise Lost: Book 09

No more of talk where God or Angel guest
With Man, as with his friend, familiar us'd,
To sit indulgent, and with him partake
Rural repast; permitting him the while
Venial discourse unblam'd. I now must change
Those notes to tragick; foul distrust, and breach
Disloyal on the part of Man, revolt,
And disobedience: on the part of Heaven
Now alienated, distance and distaste,
Anger and just rebuke, and judgement given,
That brought into this world a world of woe,
Sin and her shadow Death, and Misery
Death's harbinger: Sad talk!yet argument
Not less but more heroick than the wrath
Of stern Achilles on his foe pursued
Thrice fugitive about Troy wall; or rage
Of Turnus for Lavinia disespous'd;
Or Neptune's ire, or Juno's, that so long
Perplexed the Greek, and Cytherea's son:

If answerable style I can obtain
Of my celestial patroness, who deigns
Her nightly visitation unimplor'd,
And dictates to me slumbering; or inspires
Easy my unpremeditated verse:
Since first this subject for heroick song
Pleas'd me long choosing, and beginning late;
Not sedulous by nature to indite
Wars, hitherto the only argument
Heroick deem'd chief mastery to dissect
With long and tedious havock fabled knights
In battles feign'd; the better fortitude
Of patience and heroick martyrdom
Unsung; or to describe races and games,
Or tilting furniture, imblazon'd shields,
Impresses quaint, caparisons and steeds,
Bases and tinsel trappings, gorgeous knights
At joust and tournament; then marshall'd feast
Serv'd up in hall with sewers and seneshals;
The skill of artifice or office mean,
Not that which justly gives heroick name
To person, or to poem. Me, of these
Nor skill'd nor studious, higher argument
Remains; sufficient of itself to raise
That name, unless an age too late, or cold
Climate, or years, damp my intended wing
Depress'd; and much they may, if all be mine,
Not hers, who brings it nightly to my ear.
The sun was sunk, and after him the star
Of Hesperus, whose office is to bring

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King Solomon And The Queen Of Sheba

(A Poem Game.)

“And when the Queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon, . . .
she came to prove him with hard questions.”


[The men’s leader rises as he sees the Queen unveiling
and approaching a position that gives her half of the stage.]

Men’s Leader: The Queen of Sheba came to see King Solomon.
[He bows three times.]
I was King Solomon,
I was King Solomon,
I was King Solomon.

[She bows three times.]
Women’s Leader: I was the Queen,
I was the Queen,
I was the Queen.

Both Leaders: We will be king and queen,
[They stand together stretching their hands over the land.]
Reigning on mountains green,
Happy and free
For ten thousand years.

[They stagger forward as though carrying a yoke together.]
Both Leaders: King Solomon he had four hundred oxen.

Congregation: We were the oxen.

[Here King and Queen pause at the footlights.]
Both Leaders: You shall feel goads no more.
[They walk backward, throwing off the yoke and rejoicing.]
Walk dreadful roads no more,
Free from your loads
For ten thousand years.

[The men’s leader goes forward, the women’s leader dances round him.]
Both Leaders: King Solomon he had four hundred sweethearts.

[Here he pauses at the footlights.]
Congregation: We were the sweethearts.

[He walks backward. Both clap their hands to the measure.]
Both Leaders: You shall dance round again,
You shall dance round again,
Cymbals shall sound again,
Cymbals shall sound again,
[The Queen appears to gather wildflowers.]

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Quatrains Of Life

What has my youth been that I love it thus,
Sad youth, to all but one grown tedious,
Stale as the news which last week wearied us,
Or a tired actor's tale told to an empty house?

What did it bring me that I loved it, even
With joy before it and that dream of Heaven,
Boyhood's first rapture of requited bliss,
What did it give? What ever has it given?

'Let me recount the value of my days,
Call up each witness, mete out blame and praise,
Set life itself before me as it was,
And--for I love it--list to what it says.

Oh, I will judge it fairly. Each old pleasure
Shared with dead lips shall stand a separate treasure.
Each untold grief, which now seems lesser pain,
Shall here be weighed and argued of at leisure.

I will not mark mere follies. These would make
The count too large and in the telling take
More tears than I can spare from seemlier themes
To cure its laughter when my heart should ache.

Only the griefs which are essential things,
The bitter fruit which all experience brings;
Nor only of crossed pleasures, but the creed
Men learn who deal with nations and with kings.

All shall be counted fairly, griefs and joys,
Solely distinguishing 'twixt mirth and noise,
The thing which was and that which falsely seemed,
Pleasure and vanity, man's bliss and boy's.

So I shall learn the reason of my trust
In this poor life, these particles of dust
Made sentient for a little while with tears,
Till the great ``may--be'' ends for me in ``must.''

My childhood? Ah, my childhood! What of it
Stripped of all fancy, bare of all conceit?
Where is the infancy the poets sang?
Which was the true and which the counterfeit?

I see it now, alas, with eyes unsealed,
That age of innocence too well revealed.
The flowers I gathered--for I gathered flowers--
Were not more vain than I in that far field.

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Youth Youth Youth

Youth youth youth
Youth youth youth
Never wanna be an adult
Always wanna be in revolt
Youth youth youth
Youth youth youth
Don't wanna spend my life saving up for things
Don't wanna have what a steady job brings
I don't want security
Don't want responsibility
Don't wanna stay at home not making any noise
I've always got to be out
I've always got to have a choice
I don't want security
Don't want responsibility
Youth youth youth
Youth youth youth
I don't want no uniform
I don't want no book of rules
Youth youth youth
Youth youth youth
Never wanna be an adult
Always wanna be in revolt
Youth youth youth
Youth youth youth
I don't want no uniform
I don't want no book of rules

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Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Sixth Book

THE English have a scornful insular way
Of calling the French light. The levity
Is in the judgment only, which yet stands;
For say a foolish thing but oft enough,
(And here's the secret of a hundred creeds,–
Men get opinions as boys learn to spell,
By re-iteration chiefly) the same thing
Shall pass at least for absolutely wise,
And not with fools exclusively. And so,
We say the French are light, as if we said
The cat mews, or the milch-cow gives us milk:
Say rather, cats are milked, and milch cows mew,
For what is lightness but inconsequence,
Vague fluctuation 'twixt effect and cause,
Compelled by neither? Is a bullet light,
That dashes from the gun-mouth, while the eye
Winks, and the heart beats one, to flatten itself
To a wafer on the white speck on a wall
A hundred paces off? Even so direct,
So sternly undivertible of aim,
Is this French people.
All idealists
Too absolute and earnest, with them all
The idea of a knife cuts real flesh;
And still, devouring the safe interval
Which Nature placed between the thought and act,
They threaten conflagration to the world
And rush with most unscrupulous logic on
Impossible practice. Set your orators
To blow upon them with loud windy mouths
Through watchword phrases, jest or sentiment,
Which drive our burley brutal English mobs
Like so much chaff, whichever way they blow,–
This light French people will not thus be driven.
They turn indeed; but then they turn upon
Some central pivot of their thought and choice,
And veer out by the force of holding fast.
–That's hard to understand, for Englishmen
Unused to abstract questions, and untrained
To trace the involutions, valve by valve,
In each orbed bulb-root of a general truth,
And mark what subtly fine integument
Divides opposed compartments. Freedom's self
Comes concrete to us, to be understood,
Fixed in a feudal form incarnately
To suit our ways of thought and reverence,
The special form, with us, being still the thing.
With us, I say, though I'm of Italy
My mother's birth and grave, by father's grave
And memory; let it be,–a poet's heart

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