The Corpus Christi College JCR was founded in 1797 by George Leigh Cooke, a fellow of the college. It is customary for the Poet Laureate to produce an ode to the JCR to celebrate this event. The following was my poem in honour of the JCR’s birthday on November 20th 2011:
Ode to the JCR
o conclave, potes longos perstare per annos:
cures discipulos tempus in omne tuos!
Hallowed space, inviting chamber,
Haven for the lonely student soul!
Room that in our college drama
Plays for us an ever-starring role!
In the age of Pitt the Younger,
Ère the first Napoleonic War,
George Leigh Cooke, intrepid scholar,
Founded then the room we now adore.
Panelled walls and softest carpet,
Squashy couches line this sanctuary.
Tucked away, its own computer
Mercifully restored and virus-free.
Scene of late-night conversations,
Drunken talk of fears and hopeless dreams;
Scene of teatime’s piping mugfuls
Dunked with ginger nuts and custard creams.
Here at tense, fortnightly meetings,
Tempers fray as each his view affirms:
FIFA debts we argue fiercely,
All, of course, in gender-neutral terms…
Setting of the looming hustings:
Candidates declaim their fevered chants
Late at night there’s brazen murder:
Dark intrigue and mutilated plants.
Scene as well of scandal, plastered
In the pages of the gutter press.
Now our JCR is forced to
Bear the stains of port-induced excess.
Corpuscles must rally round -
Restore, I pray, the room’s unstained repute
And through the intervening ages
George Leigh Cooke with one true voice salute!