A Season In Edge Hill (Repost)


Self-important piddling patchwork college,
peddling half-regurgitated rote knowledge;
chiselling chaste gems into brute ashlar;
live surging forest stripped for lumber cash.

All of a piece: “Sit down, don’t rock the boat”.
Sing up: “Graded brains keep us in power”.
You know the drill. “Do keep up at the back!”
“Hands up if you know the answer.” “Miss!” “Sir!”

Meaninglesswhile in the college canteen
(“Starved a lot, blah, blah”; cabbage days again)
running dogs and other wage slaves drivel,
drone, mimic windmills uncomprehending,

grinning at their own expense, face polished
shiny, shiny, aloof, above all that,
admiring Handsome in smooth-tongued mirrors,
accolading lucky fortunate one.

What can I say? A dickens of a place.
Lancashire’s tundra; bleak without the house.
Overgenerous to call if half-life
One man arrived and only stayed for tea …


A page of personal history.

About Ben Naga

The Spirit that graces me with its passing has no name and stems not from thoughts and words, though it gathers them up as it flows, but from feeling.

Posted on April 6, 2014, in Poetry, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. Alliterated disaffection! Reading this makes me feel like I fell into a vat of seething beasts rich with the colors of knowledge and almost-knowledge that are bored out of their minds sitting in the student union on a day when the sun’s warmth is loosening the bones of spring. Although I have spent most of my life on college campuses,
    One man arrived and only stayed for tea …
    Great poem, Ben Naga. Great poem.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are very kind. “Alliterated disaffection!” Yes indeed. I learned today that the son of one of my best friends is now going there, and it reminded me of this piece. As it’s one few of my current readers will have seen, and on rereading it, I decided it was worth trotting out again.

      DISCLOSURE. (1) “Graded brains keep us in power” is a play on an old advertisement. I don’t know if it was used in the US or just in the UK: “Graded grains make finer flour”. The word play isn’t mine, I’m afraid; it was coined by some disaffected political grouping or other, but it’s from many years ago, so I am claiming it as public domain.

      (2)“Starved a lot, blah, blah” is cribbed from the sleeve notes of The Mothers Of Invention’s album “Freak Out!” (Though I did rearrange the words. 🙂 )


  2. My family came here from Lancashire in 1638. I don’t know if any of them attended that college, but one of them, a church warden, chiseled his name into the wall of a church in Ribchester.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great write, Ben. Every line of this poem calls me to sit up straight and pay attention to it; to discover and explore the meanings and the twists.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Well, Ben – this took me right back to my college days. (It was certainly true of the university I went to.) Every line is stellar – I love it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Glad you enjoyed it, Betty. I sent a copy to the woman who shared those long past days with me. She said she felt it was a little harsh. Me, I am quite happy to stand by it. Perhaps that is one reason we remain friends rather than companions. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Like your poetic flow here. I wasn’t formally educated in college. I did business school and taught myself what ever I wanted to know. I learned to think on my own and my opinion on today’s education system is the youth aren’t learning to think independently.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That is no longer the purpose. To believe what the schools and colleges teach them, what the “news” and advertisements say and to do what they are told, to consume and to conform seem to be both the main curriculum and the subliminal message.


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