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The TRUTH, the WHOLE truth & NOTHING BUT …

September 16, 2019

On 3rd October it will be National Poetry Day in the UK, when this year’s theme is TRUTH. In conjunction with publishers Schofield and Sims, I am delighted to have contributed a National Poetry Day themed activity for teachers (or for children to explore by themselves). I chose a poem by Benjamin Zephaniah, with a light-hearted, humorous look at the subject of truth. Click here to view.

Here’s a differently light-hearted look at truth in my own poem, published here for the first time:

The Crocodile Trial

Crocodile sat in the criminal courtroom,
Charged with murder of an innocent youth.
He smiled at the judge. He smiled at the jury.
“I promise,” he smiled, “to tell the truth.”

Then he snapped his jaws at the judge and the jury.
They gasped in horror – he was so uncouth!
He had come to the court without a toothbrush,
Half a leg dangled from a big back tooth.

Down slammed the hammer of the judge in the courtroom.
“Guilty!” cried the jury. “Guilty!” cried the judge.
“It isn’t my fault,” said Crocodile, crying,
“I did try flossing but it just won’t budge!”

The judge explained, “You are guilty of murder;
Guilty of gobbling an innocent youth.”
“Oh, yes, that’s true,” said Crocodile, smiling,
“That is how the leg got stuck in my tooth.”

“As long as you know,” added Crocodile, blushing,
“As long as you realise,” he went quite red,
“…that I always clean my teeth, I was brought up properly;
I always clean my teeth before I go to bed!”

© Celia Warren 2019

Truth might seem to be a very simple theme – either something is true or it isn’t. But life isn’t as black and white as that. If a dozen people witness an event and afterwards recount what they truthfully believe they heard and saw, their accounts will differ. It is human nature. It is something courts of law have to take into account when listening to witnesses to crimes or offences, and why they demand that people on trial, and witnesses, tell the TRUTH, the WHOLE truth, and NOTHING BUT the truth.

Sometimes people hold such strong beliefs that they become convinced that their beliefs are The Absolute Truth. They will rationalise their beliefs by being selective in ‘facts’ they use to justify their viewpoint – maybe without even realising they are doing so. Some might feel small lies along the way justify what they believe to be a larger truth at the end of the path. Others may tell ‘white lies’ to avoid hurting someone else’s feelings. There are many occasions when telling the truth – which sounds simple and straight-forward – becomes a grey area.

Below I am sharing some new poems of my own, written in a more serious voice, aimed at older children and grown-ups, the first recalling a memory from my childhood. I hope you enjoy reading them and that, whether you agree with them or not, they might encourage you to delve deeper into the origins of things you are told. Never accept anyone’s ‘truth’ at face value. Do not allow scaremongering to make you too afraid to ask questions. Remember, even well-informed adults can disagree over big issues. Always try and make up your own mind.

copyright Celia Warren 2019 grass

Grass Roots

In short socks, through long days,
where blades of grass were nettle-high,
we’d tunnel through the grass a maze
and share our secret only with the sky.
Till somewhere, in a far-off foreign land,
collared nettle-grasping fiends
saw Heaven as neglect and took in hand
our wilderness, thought up machines:
Green-gobblers they planned,
to create a children’s park:
Neat and tidy. Safe and sound.
Kill-joy careful clerks
patted backs, tightened ties,
and smugly smiled.
We watched our world destroyed by lies,
our truth was in the wild.
What price a mended seesaw
for a maze? – Where’s the sense
in chopping down a hedgerow
for a fence?

© Celia Warren 2019

The Song of the Silenced Scientist

If I am gullible,
I have no choice:
I follow the crowd.

If I am sceptical,
I have no voice:
I’m not allowed

to work in research,
to air my views,
to have my say
on the media news,

to check the facts,
share all the data.
If I try
I am deemed a hater

of people, of planet;
I’m not born again
into popular culture
of faithful men

and women, who want
to accept the blame,
and pay the piper
who stands to gain.

Galileo recanted.
Darwin survived.
Dinosaurs came
and dinosaurs died.

Our sun is a star
with a limited life.
When its time is up
what price such strife?

© Celia Warren 2019

Feel free to enjoy the poems and other content on this site, but please remember that all text and pictures are copyright. Do not reproduce them without permission. Thank you.



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