academic

Multidisciplinary Perspectives on Love

I convened an academic symposium
and gathered together the great and the good
from a wide variety of disciplines
to consider the question, ‘What is love?’

The philosophers said we must first start with Plato.
The historians showed how it had changed over time.
The chemists spoke of oxytocin and dopamine.
The psychologists thought it was all in the mind.

The political scientists declared it undemocratic.
The sociologists deemed it a social construct.
The economists said that nothing else mattered
except for how little there was, or how much.

The linguists explained the word came from Old English.
The theologians claimed it came straight from God.
The media studies professors weren’t present
but they said they’d send their thoughts in a vlog.

The anthropologists spoke of love across cultures.
The mathematicians tried to work out its square root.
The neuroscientists pointed at MRI scans.
The musicologists played its song on a lute.

The art historians said it was all about perspective.
The geologists believed it from molten rock hewn.
The classicists read extracts from Sappho and Ovid.
The astrophysicists thought it to do with the moon.

The geographers tried to map all its contours.
The literature scholars quoted Auden and Keats.
At the end we were no nearer an answer;
we reconvene on Wednesday next week.

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Letter Received regarding my Application for the Position of Oxford Professor of Poetry

Dear Brian,

Thank you for applyin’.

I hope you don’t find this distressful
but on this occasion you have been unsuccessful.

We found your poetry
unsatisfactory to the nth degree,
a cross between a dog’s dinner and a catastrophe.
In fact, the kind of drivelling doggerel
one might find inscribed
on a cheap sheet of bog roll.

Your limericks are limited,
haikus quite hopeless,
your sonnets have as much class
as soap-on-ropeness.
Oh, and your ballads are bollocks.

We wish that you suffered from more writer’s blocks.

Your verse is about buses and tank tops and socks;
you think you’re profound but you’re more like pro-lost.

And as for your poems about Clarkson
they’re bordering on the litigious.

On the plus side,
your spelling’s quite good
and your output prodigious.

Yours sincerely,

Professor A.P. Brearley