The Pedagogue’s Lament

By David L. Pulling

 Composed in December 1994

 Oh, Socrates!  Can you teach the torch to burn bright?

I gasp for sustenance in pestilent air.

Hour to hour the prison bell sounds as regular as Granny-on-ex-lax.

Disaffection files out,

Disaffection files in–

the ebb and flow of meaninglessness.


The passive lecture hall, where dispassionate learners take note (if they remain awake?)

Before me stretch imposing rows of glossy acrylic crisply arrayed in linear rank,

molded in the accommodating shape of human posteriors

(one size fits all);

I am stripped of sovereignty, yoked with stratified, codified, deified curricular guide

passed down from high bureaucratic places, putting objects to learn in proper places

(one behavioral objective fits all).

Save me, ere I perish,

choking on this foul blight!