Brian Patten

(7 February 1946 / Liverpool / England)

Minister for Exams


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?

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

Do you like this poem?
7 person liked.
0 person did not like.

Read poems about / on: child, grief, today, moon, water, dream, lost, god, children

Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Comments about this poem (Minister for Exams by Brian Patten )

Enter the verification code :

  • Rookie - 68 Points Joe Hughes (5/26/2014 12:25:00 PM)

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

  • Rookie Stevie Taite (5/13/2013 1:54:00 PM)

    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! (Report) Reply

Read all 5 comments »

Trending Poets

Trending Poems

  1. Dreams, Langston Hughes
  2. Still I Rise, Maya Angelou
  3. The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost
  4. I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou
  5. Phenomenal Woman, Maya Angelou
  6. Annabel Lee, Edgar Allan Poe
  7. As I Grew Older, Langston Hughes
  8. Invictus, William Ernest Henley
  9. Christmas Trees, Robert Frost
  10. No Man Is An Island, John Donne

Poem of the Day

poet Percy Bysshe Shelley

O World! O Life! O Time!
On whose last steps I climb,
Trembling at that where I had stood before;
When will return the glory of your prime?
No more -Oh, never more!

...... Read complete »

   
[Hata Bildir]