Saturday 16 December 2017

Blood will be spilled; betrayal like that comes at a high price

Well, English Paper 2 was a dramatic turn of events. One thought crossed my mind when I turned to the poetry question: there is going to be pandemonium on Facebook tonight.

The chaos about to unfold will make Hamlet's spiral into madness look like a pleasant Sunday stroll.

I had to scan those fateful four names twice, just to make sure my mind wasn't deluding me. But no, there was no Heaney. Instead, Patrick Kavanagh, like the little ray of sunshine he is, remained resolutely on the page.

Since Plath and my loyal ally Heaney were missing in action, desperate measures had to be taken. Fast.

Thankfully, Rich proved that she is indeed a survivor and made an appearance. Otherwise the examiner would have gotten a Heaney essay whether they wanted one or not. A potentially catastrophic bombshell evaded by inches.

But that doesn't placate the thousands of infuriated students who were so callously abandoned in the thick of battle. Blood will be spilled. Betrayal like that comes at a price.

Waiting for the examiner to utter the dreaded words, 'you may begin,' was agonising; desperately trying to cling on to the quotes and key moments that stubbornly refused to remain in my head, while simultaneously convincing myself nothing I had studied would come up.

But any previous negativity I harboured against our surly Danish prince evaporated with the word 'character,' and general vision and viewpoint didn't have a hope against good old literary genre.

And now, poetry has relinquished its iron grasp over my life. No more trying to draw some meaningful insight from a pitchfork or deciphering hidden meanings behind poppies and pheasants. Back to reality.

I suppose every Leaving Cert has to have its moment of madness and drama and, quite frankly, I thought the miserable weather was more than enough to contend with.

Poet panic, I can handle, but if integration decides to pull a fast one on today's maths paper, well, hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.

All will most definitely be revealed today, and for fear of jinxing anything, I'll take it as it comes . . . Or maybe try reverse psychology. Fine, algebra, do your worst. It's not like I'm depending on you or anything . . .

India McGirr is a pupil at Gorey Community School, Co Wexford.

Irish Independent

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