I learned from Melvin Bragg's column in the Daily Mail that the Department for Sport and Culture removed poetry from the CSE syllabus on the grounds that “poetry is too challenging for children.” Such a claim shows up the arrogant ignorance of officials who are clearly unaware of the popularity of nursery rhymes. As Richard Littlejohn would say, ‘you couldn’t make it up’. Nations as well as individuals live in their language which is electrified by poetry, boosting s our imagination and giving colour to the words.
The only way Oliver Dowden’s children, if he has any, find poetry difficult is, if, at home they do not talk. Of course English is a world language, so it doesn’t really matter if the natives speak it badly. They can count on foreigners to figure out what they are saying.
It is smaller nations which treasure their language. I had grown up in Hungary, where the evening news had been followed every night by a popular actor performing a great poem. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if BBC or SKY would adopt the practice, allowing millions to discover the liveliness, the fun of English.
Millions would stop disfiguring their speech with innumerable ‘you know’s and ‘’like’s. Quite apart from everything else, the economic benefits would be impressive.