The Professors: A Poem from Inside the Academy


Photo: The Three Stooges—Moe and Larry, pulling Curly’s ears…




Triflers beware! The professors are here:

Punctilious, mindful, on the move,


They’ll flush you out, invest your reveries,

Or close your brown studies. It’s you they’ve watched


Woolgathering, or nonchalant, improvident- tant pis!

Micawbers, slackers, skimmers, here’s your match,


The professors have arrived: the robed Savonarolas!

Leap in the dark, grope or guess, send up a trial balloon,


Rummage, ransack, winnow or appraise–

Inquisitors will grill you: mooncalf, booby, lout, buffoon.


It’s time for gumption, prudence, brains and mother wit:

A bluestocking’s wrangle, a sine qua non;


Alas, poor duffers, bookless, smattering, you invent

A limerick, an Irish muddle, clearly heretic.


O the professors are here: praise Mentor!

They swoop through the long schoolroom,


Vertiginous, oracular, confirmatory, O rodomontade!

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