A Break from Grading Jail

Monday’s poem addresses what I’ve spent the day doing instead of putting more poetry on the blog. This poem was written by John Ridland, a professor at UC-Santa Barbara, but more than that I can’t tell you. I found this on someone’s else blog (http://hugoboy.typepad.com/hugo_schwyzer/2006/07/thursday_short__3.html) and am reposting it here. I didn’t ask permission, and I don’t know how to do “trackbacks” or anything, so here’s hoping I don’t get sued (sorry Dr. Ridland!). I am not qualified to decide whether or not this is art, but I still got a tickle out of it.  Cheers!

by John Ridland

“An experienced teacher can grade anything.”
                            ––An experienced teacher

He grades the cat on being cat
(straight A), the grapefruit on juiciness
(B+) and sweetness (B), his wife
on sleeping soundly (last night, D

minus)he grades the morning (C
plus, Be more definite), the dog
for coming quickly when she’s called
(A‑‑, good dog, good dog), for
fetching the paper (Fetch it!–F).
In broad daylight he grades the moon
last night at midnight, Well defined,
clear and complete
(pure A, pure A);
his breakfast lunch and dinner (Pass);
his shoes (Unsatisfactory);
of course he grades the morning paper
(low C for content, C for form);
the window (B, maybe B‑‑,
Try to be more imaginative).

He grades the way he drives to school
(B+ woops, D), the radio–
rather, its choice of music (A
+, for Segovia’s guitar
followed by Goodman’s clarinet),
the fat opossum in the road
(plain D for Dead), the old man trudging
in red sweatsuit and jogging shoes
(Not Pass), the parking lot (OK),
colleagues for cordiality
(A, B, C, D, none of the above)
and courage in the line of duty
(Withheld:  cf. the Privacy Act).

He’s graded God (You should do better
than this, with Your Advantages.
Try to improve by putting more
of Yourself into it:
and homo sapiens (Barely passing,
); and himself
(Delivery, B; Coherence, C;
Organization, D; Good will,
A! A!), and grades his grading (C,
Inflated, whimsical), his life
(B+ as far as it goes, keep going);
Tomorrow and tomorrow and
tomorrow (Where’s your outline?  C,
No, Incomplete. Please see me soon.


2 thoughts on “A Break from Grading Jail

  1. Thank you! This is exactlyt what the poem is for, and I’m glad Hugo posted it and your reposted it, and I hereby give permission for everybody anywhere to repost it as often as they wish.

    John Ridland, now retired from grading

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