My first weeks at college, I was most puzzled that
everyone seemed to talk about a “sea cat”.
Weathered by abuse of sea and sky;
accustomed to pain; patch over one eye.
Hissing, spitting, a tendency to maul;
one leg torn off by a cannonball.
Steeped in the climate of tropical zones;
sailing under the skull and crossbones.
His liking for grog, aka rum,
was infectious; all just part of the fun.
This was the image I had in my head;
where my foolish fancies had led.
A pirate’s cat; an old sea hand,
straight from the pages of “Treasure Island”.
Sea Cat gave me the best three years of my life,
and the single most surreal moment of my life:
when I was told I was likely to be
the only one, that year, to get a first-class degree.
(This prediction proved erroneous, ultimately;
only one person did get a first-class degree,
but a student with more brainpower than me,
who went on to lecture in Sociology.)
Being a slow northerner, from Barnsley,
twenty-six years old, just starting a degree;
it took weeks before it finally dawned on me,
weeks to come to terms with my stupidity.
How was it I completely failed to see
that “Sea Cat” was derived from “CCAT”:
Cambridgeshire College of Arts and Technology?
Regular followers of this blog will probably be aware of the fact that I have previously posted a number of autobiographical poems about my student days in Cambridge, 1976-79. This is the latest in the series. The college I attended has undergone many metamorphoses since I was there, and is currently known as Anglia Ruskin University.