When I was an undergraduate at Sydney University, even though I was a practising Catholic, I thought of the students who lived at St John’s College as almost another species: somehow insulated from the broader university community, with their own strange rituals and vaguely noxious world view. If that was true then, how much more now!
Sonnet 5: St John the Evangelist in Missenden Road
(Apologies to JM)
St John, whom Jesus loved, woke up
in Camperdown, as mad as thunder,
beside a burnt couch. He spoke up
(he’d seen the videos of chunder,
toxic brews and stained glass smashed
by men with his name, unabashed
children of the moneyed classes,
tinkling cymbals, sounding brasses):
‘In the beginning was the Word,
dwelt amongst us, crucified
by turds like you. You’ve mocked and lied,
near killed, you unrepentant herd.
God may forgive. His love is great.
But take my name off your front gate.’