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The Academic in June by Connaire Kensit

Arts Richmond

Online - 05 August 2020

The Academic in June by Connaire Kensit

The Academic in June

It's marking time, and I'm marking time;
My house and mind are filled with grime.
Though dust lies thick and sash-cords stick
There'll be nothing put to rights in the marking time.

The brain-work's hard, and the brain works hard. 
Supper gets forgotten, and ends up charred―
Just a scrawny chop from the nearest shop:
No time to care for food when you're marking hard.

The sunshine's bright, yes, the sun shines bright,
So I shelter in a room with a soft north light.                    
Since so blinding a dazzle leaves the mind in a frazzle
I'm put into the shade when the sky's too bright.

All our lost sunny days, all are lost in a daze.
No sea, no mountain meets my gaze.
Just frantic scrawls whose bulk appals.                            
There's no rest for the eyes in the marking days.

June marking time is our harvest time
When the wild cherries ripen in midsummer's prime,
When at last, by degrees, the academic sees
The fruits of year-long labour as our lives mark time.       

                                                     Connaire Kensit, July 1988



This poem was written just after a Board of Examiners meeting which I attended at the then Portsmouth Polytechnic (which became in 1992 the University of Portsmouth).

At the end of their degree course students had to take a set of Final Examinations, which had to be marked as quickly as possible.  These were held in the first half of June and results had to be ready for the meeting of the Board of Examiners, which determined the class of degree to be awarded to each student, in the first week of July.

The Academic in June

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