Fellow Student

I went round to Sarah’s flat one night:
“Hi man,” she said, “Yeah, you can come in, sure,”
Apologising as she shut the door –
“But not for too long, you know how it is –
I’ve got two essays still to write
And then exams start – I’m in quite a tizz.”
She yawned and laughed, said “I’ve just changed Sam’s nappy,
And now he’s fast asleep – at last!” she smiled –
“Wow, but he keeps me busy!”  “Also happy,”
I put in.  “Yes, but not all the while –
He’s got a weak chest, coughs, cries with the pain,
I get so uptight we both end in tears…
His dad got sentenced, over drugs, eight years…
That’s long: I guess we won’t get back again;
I’ve got my Finals coming up, and then,
After, who knows?  I’ve hardly time for dreams:
With Sam and studying, sometimes, it seems
My life’s nappies and essays, nothing more.”
She changed the record, sat to roll a joint,
And said “First thing I do, even before
I take Sam to that Nursery up the road –
He’s bigger every day!  He’s quite a load!
But anyway, that’s not the point –
First of all, I get stoned, and stay that way,
Or else I’d never make it through the day.”

A new cloud added to her soft rich room
A further depth of blue, a silent pause.

She spoke again, her thoughts already gone
Back to her work: “And then, they seem such fools,
Dividing all Philosophy in schools.
You know my option is the Indian course;
I know so much of what the old books mean:
Things of which lecturers can’t conceive, think guff,
I understand, they’re places where I’ve been…
I’m always trying to turn the lecturers on:
If they’d drop acid, or just smoke some stuff,
They’d see so much… but they’re not brave enough.
So Transcendental just remains
A trendy course which their students can take
If other courses can’t keep them awake.
But still they try their worst,” she said, nonplussed,
And read: "The Bhaghavad Gita retains
Relevance for our century.  Discuss.
Christ, aren’t they boring!” she said, biro poised.
I let myself out, while she found her page,
And Briggs, her hamster, woken by the noise,
Went streaming up the rat-race in his cage.

Robin Helweg-Larsen
If you have any comments on this poem,  Robin Helweg-Larsen  would be pleased to hear from you.