Supervision

D.J. Enright

Below an essay on Shelley he wrote:
    ‘I don’t think we’re here to judge his soul.’
A telling reproach, whatever one’s view of souls.

A fine teacher! He knew the proper medicine.
Self-righteousness would never be the same,
It ceased to be a right.

He could never keep his pipe alight,
Smouldering matches rained about him.
Once he gave it up, to discipline the spirit.
His aunties told us over tea and cake:
    ‘Because he burnt a hole in his trousers.’

He was sound on poetry. (A major work on Wordsworth
Was diffidently in the offing.) When one of us
Favoured Shaw’s over Shakespeare’s Cleopatra
He dropped his pipe in wordless pain.
But the soul was what he really cared about
(Though he chose not to dwell on it),
Which we are not here to judge.

Something we learnt from his auntie too,
Who baked the cakes and supervised his body.