Dr. Gwee’s Complete Smart Cat 1

April 25, 2006

This was written in imitation of an excerpt from Fragment B of Christopher Smart’s Jubilate Agno. The parody was meant for an 18th-century literature class I taught in 2005-2006 and has been archived at miche.poetry.

For I will consider my EN4222 students.
For they are the servants of learning and pursue knowledge dutifully and daily.
For at their first step out of class they set their minds on reading next week’s text.
For they will remember to post their presentations even though some haven’t done so yet.
For having prepared, presented, and posted their points, they begin to consider other people’s presentations.
For this they do in ten degrees.
For first they still read their texts.
For secondly they still show interest in thinking about the texts.
For thirdly they are not afraid to share their findings in class.
For fourthly they do not mislead their friends with strange points.
For fifthly they at least come to class.
For sixthly they come to class on time (and not after the break).
For seventhly their friends recognise that they are indeed being helpful.
For eighthly they are thinking even as they are listening to other tribes.
For ninthly they still remember the ideas I introduced in earlier lessons.
For tenthly they go out in quest of food in good conscience that they have contributed to discussion.
For having considered their own presentations, their essays, and their exam, they nonetheless consider their neighbours.
For if they meet another in the library, they can smile with a moral certainty that they haven’t been hiding books.
For when their academic work is done their business of life more properly begins.
For they keep watch against the contamination of their own integrity.
For they counteract the Powers of Darkness by their interest and diligence.
For the Cherub Student is a term of the Angel Scholar.
For they purr in thankfulness when they are called good students.
For NUS students are the best in Asia.
For they bear their burdens heroically.
For just 1 in 7 failed to hand in the first essay on time and I know who they are.
For they are clearly called by benevolence — Poor students! poor students! you have so many essays to write.
For I bless my students if their essays are still great fun to read despite the workload.
For by marking good essays I find happy reasons for using up electricity.
For though they cannot grade themselves, they are praiseworthy inquirers.
For then they can swim for life.
For then they can creep.

Gwee Li Sui


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