Wednesday, 8 June 2011

(just for the record)

The Finalists' Barbecue

The students are in limbo
between exams and results
and their laughter has an anxious edge.

Long tables are covered with white lab roll
and bowls of food beautifully prepared
by the Operations Manager and her Crew.

The student tells me
of his trip to Vietnam.
"It will be the last holiday
I spend with my family."

I think of his mother and I say
"Don't say that - perhaps it won't be."

The academic tells me
of the overnight train journey.
I imagine his two little children
wide awake with excitement
in the sleeper compartment and smile.

The sausages and burgers
are ordered from a local butcher
and are really delicious.

And the team of Physical Geographers
show off their crazy BBQ skillz
and cook everything to perfection.

The Young Academic is recounting
the tale of the Tie of Shame
to the Head of Department elect
who is looking faintly appalled
and wondering what lies ahead in his new role.

The new GeogSoc committee
have contacted me to discuss
the Freshers reception in September.
I tell the ex-President of the GeogSoc
and she laughs
"That's a bit keen -
I didn't think about it until the week before."

Everyone clusters at the top of the Quad
for the traditional photograph.
It will be given to all finalists
on Graduation Day.

The Head of Department
thanks the students
for making it such a good evening
and tells them they are a vintage year.

As I leave the Department
the foyer is still full of students
chatting, laughing,
reluctant to leave.

It is another happy memory,
to take away into the world outside
and keep for a lifetime.


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