Collegia – Ode 50: The Introduction or Crack a Rib


(With apologies to Lord Byron)

AS seniors we came up like wolves on the fold
Though our faces were gleaming our glances were cold;
And the shine of our shoes was like lights on the Thames
That flows ‘neath the bridges bespangled with gems.

Like the lords of the Cosmos where stars are pale green
Our host with their luggage one evening were seen.
Like the worms of the compost when winter is near
The juniors were wriggling in uncontrolled fear.

For an ague of dread made them tremble and shiver,
And twisted the face and contorted the liver.
And the eyes of us seniors wax’d deadly and chill,
And our words were once uttered, the juniors grew still.

And there on the platform with nostrils all wide
The juniors recited, their fear mixed with pride.
And the sound of their gasping brought joy to our hearts
As we baptised them all in the cult of the arts.

And there stood the freshmen distorted and pale,
With sweat on the brow, much biting of nail;
How their voices fell silent when words had all flown;
Their glances quite frantic, their fate quite unknown.

And the seniors of College are loud in their glee,
And the ice is now broken, all spirits are free;
And the shy little junior, released from his test,
Becomes a real Double-U just like the rest!

11. 10. 28