© Will Moody

Winner, 2014 Themed Section, C J Dennis Poetry Festival, Toolangi Victoria.

I’m seventy three and, between you and me, it’s a terrible thing to grow old.
I’ve not much to tell. If you think it crap, well…at least you can’t say you weren’t told.
I’ve made a fair fist of most things on my list. Yes, I’ve battled, but I’ve battled through.
I’m not laying blame. Life’s a pretty tough game, and you play the hand Fate deals to you.

My Uni days flew…well…my classes were few. My professors made nary a dent.
I gained no degree…no surprise, you’ll agree…for the fact is that I never went.
To me was denied all the mysteries residing in halls of great wisdom and lore.
I couldn’t afford (I was not born abroad!) the high price-tag enlightenment wore.

I sometimes now think, on senility’s brink, how one’s options are few when you’re poor.
What might I have done and what laurel wreaths won had I just got my foot in the door?
Would fortune and fame have accrued to my name, had I only the cost of the keys?
It’s doubtful, although, I guess we’ll never know how my name might have grown by degrees.

Seems nothing has changed and the chairs still arranged for the few who can bear the impost.
What singular brain will in Limbo remain in the ranks of excluded we’ve lost?
How many a mind will stay blinkered or blind for the lack of the light it required?
How many a flame in a breast will be tamed…go untended, unfanned, uninspired?

Can we be as “clever” a nation while ever we bury our students in debt?
A growing reliance on imported science is something we may well regret.
An impotent force, like reversed cart and horse, for some kids is their future it seems.
The miser’s tight hoard would be better rewarded invested in youth and its dreams.

We’ll not be applauded or praises accorded if all we provide for our youth
is diminishing hope for expanding their scope and a heritage rude and uncouth.
There is no escaping, the vessels we’re shaping today will be tested and tried.
The world we’re bequeathing is war-torn and seething with ignorance, dogma and pride.

The triumph of Reason may yet have its season if we on our youth can bestow
the seeds that are needed…by class unimpeded, the freedom to flourish and grow.
What cost to be paid for discoveries made, were financial constraints not so dire?
What cultural leap, were not course fees so steep? Were not Wisdom, made whore now, for hire?

With free education for all in our nation who knows to what heights we might reach?
The door should swing wide for those waiting outside with a hunger for all we can teach.
The future seems bright as I sit here tonight (though I vent my political spleen)
for this country I love, but…good heavens above! …when I think of what She might have been!

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