11 DECEMBER 1964, Page 19

Cattle Market

Queues all over the place—queue up for the bog, For breakfast, lectures—lecturers! pallid ones Earnest in spectacles tell us for our good 'Symbols contain experience as they flow,' And shy juniors sit respectfully, sure Of professorial vetting: Will he shape?

How sound, do you think? Well I'm not sound, for one,

Got mildly drunk last night and was rude to X Who might do me some good, and this morning Y Asking after my poetry was deterred—

Fag stuffed in my gob, not taking it out At least for chit-chat. Oh yes, we come each time Listen to papers, meet our employers, leave Hoping for better things next year. It's a game, Musical Chairs, only some poor sod falls off. A symbol? Here's a symbol. Picture that queue For the toilet, now—those tentative dark suits, Spectacles catching the light, shoes shuffling on, And oh! the blessed relief standing in stalls Heads respectfully bowed—the functions that we Admit to nowhere else here have a free play.. Afterwards, peace—at first. But another drink, Another lecture, a few more rounds of fags— Then the ritual starts all over again.

We'll all come next year, safe in appointments, queue For better jobs under the pondering eye Of those who themselves are queueing for sweet relief.