Thursday, 17 December 2009

The Christmas Lunch

40 members of staff are in festive mood
surrounded by crackers, wine and good food.

The Admissions Tutor is in San Francisco.
We miss his cheerful banter.

The academic who took us to Stonehenge
is giving the closing speech at the Royal Society.
He claims that he would rather be with us.

The enthusiastic academic
describes her family Christmas
on a farm in the heart of Wales.
It sounds noisy.

I turn around to see the deputy Exams Officer
and the academic who dreams of golf courses
looking like identical twins with their paper hats.
They have worked together for a long time
and they are very good friends.

One end of the table is all Professors.
The conversation sparkles.

We say farewell to the young academic
who will be starting a new job
in the snowy north of Norway.

The academic who shall be nameless
has just won a large Research Grant.
There is much applause and raising of glasses.

The academic who has just turned 40
leads a crowd
down the street
to the nearest pub.
I hear later
it was only the beginning
of a long evening.

I pay the bill,
supervised by the Head of Department,
who hasn’t been drinking wine
so he can still add up.

The Head of Department leaves
to chair a session
at the Copenhagen Climate Change summit.

I go home to look after MissM
who has acute tonsillitis.


These are good people.
They are dedicated to their students and their research
but they know how to party too.

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

i choose to look upwards

The campus is enclosed by woodland
and trees encroach from the margins
so that the buildings are embedded
among oaks, horse chestnuts and great cedars.
This is the oak tree outside the front door
of the Department. I see it every morning.