Eyewear attended graduation ceremonies today for Kingston University's class of 2010, in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Professor Sir Peter Scott, Vice-Chancellor, spoke out powerfully and with noble clarity about the dangers of the Coalition proposals to savagely cut university budgets.
I was very proud of the students, many of whom I've tutored these past three years, as they graduated, often to the applause of friends, family and other supporters - still so young, but on their way - into an increasingly fragile and contentious socio-economic space, where the arts are less and less valued beyond their merely financial merits. Seeing them in their gowns, tossing their caps in the air, I felt they at least had the security of their degrees, experience, and conviction, to aid them in their dealings with the "real world".
One of my former students, Stefan Mohamed, this morning graduated in Creative Writing with Film Studies BA (Hons), first class, and won the Creative Writing award. I offer a poem by this fine young man from Mid-Wales today. [editor's note: on 3 November, Stefan was shortlisted for the Sony Reader Award, as part of the Dylan Thomas Prize.]
I planted a time tree.
Bear with me.
Many, many seeds, in a clock formation,
in deeply-dug beds.
At I, the biggest cog from an antique grandfather.
At II, one of the five hundred incisors from my dragon's mouth.
At III, a seashell with a lullaby living in it. Good fertilizer.
At IV, this morning's lucid dream.
At V, a high, clear top E from a bird-like soprano.
At VI, an unwished wishbone.
At VII, a stolen teenage summer.
At VIII, what some believe is a fallen star.
At IX, bark from the oldest tree in the forest.
At X, one xylophone key,
and at XI, its echo,
and at XIII, a brand-new timepiece that'd just learned how to tick.
All these seeds I sewed,
taking up the length and breadth
of this fairly meagre garden
and I watered them
with joyful tears, sad tears,
and the week's only raincloud.
Then I waited.
Because that's the thing about time.
poem by Stefan Mohamed