Pigeon among Cats

Here is one of the sweet memories of the years I spent teaching undergraduates, a poem I wrote in those days. It was lying on my hard disk waiting to see the light of day.

 

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There he stood, fresh and green.

Lanky, awkward, bespectacled,

Licking his lips,

Moustache twitching nervously

Like the whiskers of a rabbit in danger.

His initial joy at being appointed

English lecturer of a women’s college

Already a faded memory

Of a recent past.

The girls stared bright eyed-

Ninety-four of them

Teenagers of various sizes-

Like eagles at a hapless snake,

Like cats at a poor mouse,

One hundred and eighty eight laser beams

Systematically peeled off layers

Of confidence, knowledge, and experience,

Bringing down to zero

The value of awards and certificates

Leaving him afraid, vulnerable, and weak

Armed with only a text book,

A nervous smile and sweaty palms

“Good morning, girls,” he bleated.

“Good morning, Sir,” they roared.

Some grinned, some giggled,

Some tittered, some whispered,

Others waited with sadistic glee

For something worse than the worst.

“Write a note on Love,” he said,

Wiping beads of sweat,

“We are dealing with Shakespeare’s sonnet

On the permanence of Love.”

“Love!” scoffed one, “What is that?”

Voices rose mingled with titters.

They twisted, squirmed and exchanged views

The noise could waken the dead!

“Write in silence!” he cried.

They were unaffected.

Some had no paper, some no pen,

Some didn’t know what Love meant,

Some clamored for discussion and debate,

Some claimed ignorance

Of the written art,

Others downright disobeyed.

“Sir, tell us about Love,” they challenged.

And he, knowing only Shakespeare’s views

And not his own, stammered and stuttered.

When the bell rang, out he tottered

Like a lone lost soul from Dante’s inferno

Alive, unscathed, but strengthened for more.

 

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15 thoughts on “Pigeon among Cats

  1. what a sonnet! I felt for the poor teacher entering the lion’s den and the blood-thirsty students, ehm spectators, eager to see his/her blood. A bit like a scene from Gladiator. Glad you made it out alive, but of course, before he talks about Love with a capital L he should know a lot about it 😉

    Liked by 1 person

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