The Leaving – 2020. A poem by Fergus Hogan

– the price of supply and demand
is always set by the buyer –

The Leaving Cert 2020 and all the CAO points
you might ever win or lose will count for nothing –

unless – the Universities want you need you.
It’s a cattle mart each August in Athlone when

the Registrars (and their dominions) turn up to trade –
from the University cities and the countries run down ITs

or, as the Presidents of the Prestigious campuses
still like to call them – the regional technical colleges.

And still – the price of points is set by the buyer. We’ll take
50 medical students @ 10 million thousand points (and euro)

and, 100 nurses (please) at ____________ (or less than that) and
because nobody wants to study Spanish or Theology this year, or

Celtic Mythology at all any more we’ll drop the points in Arts and
Social Science and Social Care – to, below the price of a barrel of oil

trading today on the stock market @ minus $40 just to keep the 12 full time
senior lectures in jobs with pay for doing nothing at all – again this year –

they’ve been practicing now for so long –
doing nothing – they’re almost good at it.

But don’t be fooled. Don’t worry – it’s all just a game
and – there’s a place for each and every one of us in it.

Win or lose you can do what you want in the end.
You can always go to college when you’re twenty-four.

Do the maths – stupid – in this market the universities
will always want you need you, and the colleges too –

without first years next semester there’s nothing for lecturers to do, or to be paid for
surely the great academic minds of our country will find their way around this. So

don’t sweat the small things in life that don’t matter anymore – they never
really did. Stay home. Stay safe. Lock down. Be kind to one another.


Fergus Hogan lives and works in Waterford where he lectures full-time in narrative family therapy at WIT. His poems have been published in the Irish Times and various anthologies. His first chapbook of poems, Bittern Cry, was published in November 2019. His novel The Wisdom of Fionn, is a retelling of the old Irish tale with a focus on Celtic Spirituality and boy’s and men’s lives and relationships. It is being serialised, for free, each day of this stay at home time – on his publishers Facebook page Book Hub Publishing.

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