Jeoffry

1 May 2014

after Jubilate Agno by Christopher Smart

I testify I was one of only four women going in quest of food
by teaching in the boys high school. Consider this: in my first class dwelt
thirteen Geoffreys, Jeoffrys or Jeffreys, nine Garys or Garrys, four Gavins
and two Garths. The Lord’s poor included Keith, Kevin, Kelvin and Trevor
of the tribe of Tiger. Sir Charles Kingsford Smith’s propeller hung
on the library wall keeping the Lord’s watch in the night
against the adversary. When the photo of Sir Charles looks up
for his instructions
I ask him to spin me out of Sydney Technical High
over the parking lot, past the science and maths teachers’ Fords and Holdens,
their bumper stickers spruiking Billy Graham’s long gone revival crusade.
It appeared that the entire Maths/Science Faculty had accepted
English cats as the best in Europe. It was 1968.
The glory of god was in the air. As were drugs.

On April Fool’s Day as we car-pooled past the newsagency
Ray (Commerce) said, Look at that sign, ‘LBJ quits.’
‘Naahh,’ I said with a mixture of gravity and waggery,
‘Probably cigarettes. Not the presidency, surely.’ I’d picked up ‘surely’
trying to spraggle upon waggle at Sydney Uni.

If I’d known the tune I would have danced
Plath’s love set you going like a fat gold watch.
I sailed down the library corridor in the psychedelic spinnaker
I wore on odd days, just as a Third Form student
whistled, Yummy yummy yummy i got love in my tummy.
I certainly had. By stroking … i had found out electricity.

‘No, only seven months. Two to go.’ Afraid of detection I lied
to Principal Brown, who, by July, with the passing quickness
of his attention, still had no idea who I was.
Every family had one cat at least in the bag. But, catching the cork
and tossing it again, what to name the sproglet if it were a boy?

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