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Monday 9 January 2012

They're demanding answers to their questions.

Philistines must quantify:
how many Euros,
pounds or dollars
is an opera worth?

What makes it worth
a dip into the public purse?

How will it make life better?
(It could hardly make it worse.)
What do the voting masses think?
(What shade are they of blue or pink?)
What shade of which will it empower?
Which shades might it not disempower,
which bring back from the brink?

Did music lose its value to the nation
on some street corner
where the nation lost its way?

What's that you say;
you've got a new libretto?
What special benefits do you forsee -
if none, we'll have to let it go,
so say if there's a pay-off, kid.
In terms of tourist trade perhaps,
or racial harmony?
Come on now, laddie, lift the lid!

Don't tell us that it entertains -
and don't provoke us either, they're both passé;
we've stopped the funding on those gravy trains!

We're all in this together, man.
All worms are equal in our can!

Cohesion in the city, now...
we might splash out on that...
could your concerto pull that off?
It's one of our objectives, see,
something we must fix...
so, who would watch this play of yours,
the avant garde, the poor, the rich ?
Or could you promise us an ethnic mix?

Art for art's sake cuts no ice...
"Creative Industries"? Yeah, that sounds nice...
I like the sound of that last word.
Industries... We might buy that - not too absurd.

Ah therapy? You're talking now!
That's for the common good, we'd all agree
it's worth a bob or two somehow...
except... you'll understand, it's got to be
the focus of the work. That is a must.
A spin-of's just not good enough.
We're talking here of the main thrust!

Why should we fund the guy who looks
to stick his nose in obscure books?
And if not him, some Glyndebourne guy?
Where should we draw the spending line -
along the ground, or in the sky?
Your poems on earth meditation
must justify themselves like health,
police and education!

This poem was suggested to me by an article in the Saturday Guardian(Value Added, by David Edgar) pointing out that although the minister has described the present cut-back in funding to the arts as temporary, a majority in the government would like to scrap it altogether. In the mean time "they" are devising ways to asssess the value of each art in their own (strictly practical) terms.


The Unknowngnome said...

I guess their assessments could well be labeled: "state of the art of state."

Mishilicious Mishi said...

tho it was a little way too deep for me..but still I loved reading that Dave..you are a master of words ! :)

Rohit_blogger at http://floating-expressions.blogspot.in/ said...

didn't know you write so well on real-life issues too!lovely Dave!

Laurie Kolp said...

Powerful, Dave.

ds said...

Scary, sir. Wonderfully written, but scary!

Mary said...

So often art is undervalued, I think. Hopefully your country / all countries will find some solution that will keep support for the arts intact.

Anonymous said...

A bit over my head but I can see and appreciate the thought and effort that went into it. Art sometimes feels like an endangered species as schools continue to cut back in this area. I thought I would make a living off being an artist, but its the writing that opened up. So I went with that.

Windsmoke. said...

A most Bonza state of the art poem. I find it hard to believe that funding cuts to the arts is temporary as its happened down here in OZ too :-).

BragonDorn said...

Lovely Poem! I really did like it!

Anonymous said...

Absolutely agree with your approach here. The short-sightedness of all this, the silliness of some justifications (or not) just drives me crazy. k.

Brian Miller said...

justification of arts value...smiles...yes, in our county funding has nearly stopped for art in schools...a non useful tool int he grand scheme of things...creative thinking only breeds revolution you know...

Misterio Vida said...

agreed with mishi... for someone poetically challenged like me, still i found enough to read in it.. :) keep the good work...

Dave King said...

The Unknowngnome
Good point. Yes, I think so.

Good to have your comments. Thanks for saying.

Thanks for this Rohit. Very pleasing to hear that you thought so.

Much thanks.

Hopefully others will think the real life issues scary. Thank you for your response.

Let us hope so. The trouble is the desicion-makers are rarely able to appreciate the things of the spirit - or don't consider them their business.

Welcome to the blog and a big thank you for your comment. I suppose that's my story in a way. I had intended to teach art and paint, but became more interested in the kids than the subject.

The cuts are happening, the threat is the total cutting off of all funding.

Many thanks for saying.

If only there were more like you - many more!

It does so! And furthermore its difficult to quantify its effects - that's reall what the Philistines cannot forgive.

Many thanks for this.

Ygraine said...

Really thought-provoking stuff!
Set me off on the path of 'Revolutionary Thinking'!!!