Lament for Leaving Cert. 2020. A poem by Maeve O’Sullivan

Oh where will all this youthful knowledge go
now that we’ve said farewell to Leaving Cert?
Such preparation, with no chance to show
it in the hall, no summer-sweaty shirts.
As parents breathe their sweet sighs of relief
the calculus stays caged, the theorems trapped.
The scholars, meanwhile, may lose their belief
in imagery and poems still unwrapped;
three types of rocks, the dates of battles – lost –
as teachers figure out how to assess.
The formulae of chemicals have passed
from young minds finely tuned up to impress.
Goodbye to midnight oil, the need to cram,
Hello to extra time to get a tan.


Maeve O’Sullivan’s poetry and haiku have been widely published, awarded, translated and anthologised. She is the author of four collections from Alba Publishing, the most recent of which is Elsewhere (2017). Maeve is a founder member of the Hibernian Poetry Workshop and performs with The Poetry Divas.

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