A poem for the OU’s 40th


I’m gonna do the OU poem. And then I’m gonna do the Tom
and Finn poem. And then I’ll do one more. Maybe seven more. I haven’t decided. The only reason we’re doing 40 is
this is my OU 40th anniversary poem. You know, I was in two minds whether
to make it interactive, audience interactive,
and I see you all smiling at me… You think it’s the others.
It was you, smiling at me. And I’m thinking
this has actually become the audience participation
interactive poem. All you need to do to feel part of this, it’s quite important you feel part of it, is to say at the appropriate time,
“We owe you.” And you know what? You’ll know
when to say it. That’s all you’ve got to do.
You’ve got to say, “We owe you.” – Do you think you can do that?
– Yes. I think you can do that.
I think it’s gonna happen. OU… We owe you. So easy. Everybody wants to know you Even those who used to doubt you
Can’t speak well enough about you They say: your founders were fearless
Your students are tireless Your tutors are peerless
Your media wireless You’re the College of the Air
Your reception’s everywhere A twinkle in J C Stobart’s eye
That Michael Young could not let lie That Jennie Lee tenaciously
Made manifest reality They’d an inkling lower income
Doesn’t lead to slower thinking So now some of us are itching
By degrees towards degrees – So OU…
– We owe you. The never-quite-made-it
or told-they-were-stupid The started-but-faded
or side-tracked-by-cupid The just-need-encouragement
Gluttons-for-nourishment The people whose talent
was far too well-hidden The told-that-we-couldn’t
or-shouldn’t-so-didn’t The course-interrupted
The quite-frankly-corrupted Deep knowledge questers
Bereft empty-nesters Bright-eyes early-risers
Complete self-surprisers Who now all have fuller foreheads
A more complex frontal cortex For nourishing our neurons, OU… We owe you. In time that’s borrowed,
bought and stolen Schedules staggered,
bent and swollen Time that’s snatched
And time that’s smuggled Every minute of it juggled We give up bingo, daytime telly
Computer games and social drinking To read Brontë, Proust and Shelley
Stay at home and do binge-thinking Every sacrifice worth making
Now we’re swapping sleep for waking Waking up to our potential
To explore worlds once forbidden us It’s why on the residential Things can get a bit libidinous,
apparently For being so inspiring
That you get our neurons firing And spontaneously re-wiring, OU… We owe you. The wide-eyed wonder-graduate
The famished hunger-graduate Jotting, reading and absorbing Finding empty hours and tables Sending subtle signs to strangers “Don’t disturb me, I am dangerous
I have a little learning” And it’s not just about earning
Though, yes, we’re more employable But when we go out on the pull
We talk a better class of bull And if we’re not successful
Then we’re far more philosophical For nourishing our neurons
Buffing up our self-assurance And for being so inspiring
That you get our neurons firing And spontaneously re-wiring, OU… We owe you. And, OU, here’s hoping
You always stay Open For your enterprise is noble
and expanded frontal lobal May your outreach programme
snowball From Chernobyl down to Yeovil
From Shanghai to Sampford Peverell May your future now be global And may some of your post-graduates
Win prizes that are Nobel If a university could get
an honorary degree You wouldn’t get one You’d get several OU, BSc, BA Hons, PhD We raise a half-full glass to you
From every social class to you Say “May the gods look after you” And, OU… We owe you. Happy anniversary. Now can I have a bursary? Thank you. The OU, we owe you. – Bravo!
– Bravo. Thank you.

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