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Proof of Prior Learning ~ a Poem

John is a poet and short fiction writer who enjoys collaborating on stories with other writers, and partaking in challenges.

Searching for Proof: Image by prettysleepy1 from Pixabay

Searching for Proof: Image by prettysleepy1 from Pixabay

Word Prompt: "Proof"

Once again, Brenda has provided us with another inspiring word prompt in "proof." Even when I am convinced that I won't be able to think of anything worthy of contributing, my muse seems to have other ideas. She pokes me in the ribs, pulls my hair, prods me, or just annoys me to get my attention until I relent and let her do her thing.

So, despite not expecting to meet this week's challenge, here is my take on the word provided, a poem called "Proof of Prior Learning." Thank you, Brenda.

by Michio Kaku

by Michio Kaku

Proof of Prior Learning

“Do you have proof, I ask you, of prior learning you have done?”


“Well, I learned to peel potatoes, and how to wash and scrub a floor.

I learned to fix the hinges on a wonky swinging door.


I learned to use a shovel, and a barrow, and an axe.

I learned to count my dollars and to pay my share of tax.


You ask me where my proof is? Well, it isn’t in a book.

I display it in my knowledge and my practical outlook.


Set me any test or task, I’ll give you all the proof you need.

I learned to speak in public, and I can also write and read.


Wheelbarrow and shovel: Image by Tania Dimas from Pixabay

Wheelbarrow and shovel: Image by Tania Dimas from Pixabay

I learned how to use my common sense to catch a venomous viper.

I learned how to procreate the world, and even change a diaper.


I learned how to cook to feed a crowd, make it tasty and nutritious.

I learned how to, in all I do, always be judicious.


I learned to change a tractor tyre, using tyre-iron, jack, and power.

I learned to drive a forklift, and arrange a bunch of flowers.


I learned to build a dwelling to keep out the wind and rain.

I learned how to sail a vessel, and how to fly a plane.


"A dwelling to keep out the wind and rain": Image by David Mark from Pixabay

"A dwelling to keep out the wind and rain": Image by David Mark from Pixabay

So, proof of prior learning, I’ve got it all in spades,

‘Cause I’ve been learning all my life, and I’ve passed in every grade.


The proof's not in the telling, don’t believe what you can’t see,

And as I’m a man who shows, not talks, we just cannot agree.


For you want a piece of paper that says I’m qualified,

A certificate or a degree, or else I can’t be hired.


So, you can stick your paper proof up where the sun don’t shine,

And I’ll just go on learning in the school of life, just fine.”

The moment you feel like you have to prove your worth to someone is the moment to absolutely and utterly walk away.

— Alysia Harris

© 2021 John Hansen

Comments

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on May 03, 2021:

Hello Mary, thank you for reading this. No we don’t all boast about achievements and brandish proof everywhere we go. I am glad you enjoyed the rhythm of the poem. Take care.

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on May 03, 2021:

Showing is indeed the best proof of who we are and what we know. There is often more to what we show. Enjoyed reading the poem. I love the rhythm of the lines.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on April 30, 2021:

Yes, it is Nithya. There is no better teacher than life itself. Thanks for reading.

Nithya Venkat from Dubai on April 30, 2021:

I enjoyed reading your poem; the school of life is the best school to learn from.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on April 30, 2021:

I like it when a poem makes the reader smile, Charlie. Looks like we went to the same school. Cheers.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on April 30, 2021:

Thank you, for reading and commenting, Peace. Much appreciated as always.

Charlie Halliday from Scotland on April 30, 2021:

Brought a smile to my face with this one John.

I have spent a long time learning in the school of life :)

Peace Tobe Dike from Delta State, Nigeria. on April 30, 2021:

I love your poem. You did amazingly well.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on April 30, 2021:

Hello, Vidya. Thank you for your generous comment. Yes, life is a university/college in itself but we aren’t given degrees or certificates for passing valuable milestones. We do need to continually learn however.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on April 30, 2021:

Great to see you Bill. I did think I would struggle to come up with a poem for this prompt “proof.” Fortunately, my muse came to my aid with an idea. Yes, life’s lessons are invaluable.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on April 30, 2021:

Yes, you are right Linda, some people are slow learners in life and will be lucky if they ever graduate. I have made plenty of mistakes, I just hope I have learned from them. I think I have from most.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on April 30, 2021:

Hi Peggy. We don’t get certificates or awards for most things we learn in life. Often the skills or knowledge we do get certificates for we rarely put to use. I have caught a few vipers in time lol.

VIDYA D SAGAR on April 30, 2021:

You have proved it again John, you are an excellent poet. I love the rhythm in your poetry. And it has a great message too. Proof of learning on paper is less value in practical life. We continue to learn from life as long as we are alive.

Bill De Giulio from Massachusetts on April 30, 2021:

Great poem, John. The word “proof” isn’t much to work with but you ran with it. And the message is a worthy one, we all learn much more from life and experiences than we do from a school book.

Linda Lum from Washington State, USA on April 30, 2021:

The school of life. Some of us are doing graduate studies, and others keep having to repeat the same class over and over again (never learning from their mistakes). I'm glad you listened to your Muse. This was very entertaining. Thanks, and have a great weekend.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on April 30, 2021:

Hi John,

Your poems never fail to inspire and/or entertain us. This one of yours is great! I think that many of us continually learn things that are practical to know, and many of them do not need certificates of proof. I doubt that I will ever attempt catching a viper, however. Haha!

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on April 30, 2021:

Thanks Bill. It is funny that the topics I feel least connected to at first often result in a deeper and more thought provoking poem than I expect. But, you are right, I am up for most challenges.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on April 30, 2021:

Hi Moondot. I am pleased to read that you found this poem thought-provoking. I am sure you could answer this challenge if you put your mind to it. Thank you for reading my poem.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on April 30, 2021:

You always deliver, my friend. Name any topic, throw down any challenge, and you are there, front and center, ready to take it on. The proof of that is in your consistently excellent poetry.

EK Jadoon from Abbottabad Pakistan on April 30, 2021:

Hi Jodah,

I have tried it on me and God knows I tried. But no one can do it like you. A lovely and thought-provoking response to Brenda's word prompt. Thanks for sharing.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on April 30, 2021:

Hi Chitrangada. I enjoyed writing this poem. It was a bit tongue in cheek but did have a message. Thanks for reading.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on April 30, 2021:

Thank you for reading Fran, glad you enjoyed this poem.

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on April 30, 2021:

An excellent response to the word prompt challenge, Proof!

This is so relatable with many takeaways! For everything, we should not ask for proof! Your poem has wit and wisdom, both!

Your muse is wonderful!

Thank you for sharing!

fran rooks from Toledo, Ohio on April 30, 2021:

Jodah, what an enchanting twist of 'proof'. I loved your poem. Thanks for shaeing.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on April 30, 2021:

Good to see you Amara. That you for reading this poem and also for your kind comment. I am glad you enjoyed this poem.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on April 30, 2021:

Hi Lorna. Yes, nothing beats the school of life. I haven't done all those things I describe (I wish)though...maybe half haha. "Mucking in" on a farm sure sets you up for a good start in life too. I am happy that you enjoyed this.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on April 30, 2021:

Pamela, thanks for reading. It is always nice to start the day off with a bit of a laugh. I am glad this poem delivered that. Thanks for reading.

Amara from Pakistan on April 30, 2021:

What a pleasant and fun read Jodah..

I enjoyed reading it.. Great writer..

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on April 30, 2021:

Hi Urwa, it is good that you enjoyed this poem and got a laugh out of it. Yes, my thanks to Brenda for the prompt. Blessings.

Lorna Lamon on April 30, 2021:

The school of life is where you take the hard knocks and learn to bounce back. I loved the wisdom in this poem John and you have certainly led an interesting life so far. I feel I've had the best of both worlds, however, growing up on a farm and 'mucking in' taught me more about life than all the books. A great response and a delight to read.'

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on April 30, 2021:

John, it was absolutely fun to read this poem. It is always nice to start the day off with some humor, and you provided it. This is a great response to Brenda's prompt. I think the last lines were the perfect ending to this poem. Well done!

Iqra from East County on April 30, 2021:

Ha HA :D John, I very much enjoy reading this poem especially this line I learned to count my dollars and to pay my share of tax.

This great poem was written because of Brenda, :D so the credit goes to Brenda. Really appreciated John, God Bless you

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on April 30, 2021:

Haha, Flourish, viper..piece of cake!

FlourishAnyway from USA on April 30, 2021:

This was an enjoyable read, John. I'd love to see someone catch a venomous viper omg. You Australians!

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on April 30, 2021:

Haha, Misbah, good to see those lines made you smile too. It is our job as writers to try to entertain. Blessings to you.

Misbah Sheikh from The World of Poets on April 30, 2021:

Thanks, Brenda, Haha-- Those lines are still there but thoughts are stolen by me, John. In fact, there is one more line that made me smile

"I learned how to use my common sense to catch a venomous viper.

I learned how to procreate the world, and even change a diaper."

John, you really have the talent to make the readers smile and enjoy. Thanks, it's not just inspirational. It's a fun read too.

I always love to read your poems.

Blessings!!

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on April 30, 2021:

Haha, thank you, Brenda. I think I'll use it myself.

BRENDA ARLEDGE from Washington Court House on April 29, 2021:

Misbah has a point...that's a very good line.

Love it!!

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on April 29, 2021:

Thank you for the fine comment, Misbah. I guess writing this comes from my own experiences to some extent. I know how to do quite a few things but I don’t have qualifications for most of them. The things I am qualified in I rarely need in my everyday life. Thank you for reading and commenting.

Misbah Sheikh from The World of Poets on April 29, 2021:

John, once again a Beautiful poem, a wonderful response to Brenda's prompt as always. Truly, You did justice with it. We usually in life do things that we have never learned in any institution, we don't have a degree that we are qualified but we can do it better than many others. A lot of people are jobless in the world because the world asks for proof and mostly don't see the talent.

This last line is very powerful

"So, you can stick your paper proof up where the sun don’t shine,

And I’ll just go on learning in the school of life, just fine.”

Thanks for sharing. I enjoyed it a lot

Blessings always

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on April 29, 2021:

Hi Ravi. Thank you for confirming the message of my poem. I am glad you found it inspiring. Much appreciated.

Ravi Rajan from Mumbai on April 29, 2021:

Thanks John for this inspiring poem. As you have rightly said, the best thing to do in this world is to learn and continuously learn new things every single day. Once we are in the learning mode, a "piece of paper" proving our worth is nothing worth more than the paper it is printed on. Thanks for this invaluable lesson.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on April 29, 2021:

Hi Benda, I must thank you for inspiring my muse into action too. I enjoyed writing this poem, as I did the last. I am glad you thought it made sense. it is a pity you have to have proof of everything nowadays.

BRENDA ARLEDGE from Washington Court House on April 29, 2021:

John,

Your muse definitely kicked you in gear.

I'm so glad it poked and prodded and pulled your hair.

You have written a very cute and logical response.

We all learn how to do things as we go along through life.

I honestly couldn't prove how I learned to do alot of things that I do. I just do them.

Having to have a certificate or degree is what this old world seems to have come to nowadays.

Around here...you have to have a license to be a plumber or electrician. If you don't hire one of them, then your insurance will not cover if anything happens.

I love your poem. The common sense and witty style is great.

We thank your Muse for coming out yet again.

I will post a link.

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