POETRY | Prayer Before Graduation

By Shaun Tan

By Shaun Tan

Founder, Editor-in-Chief, and Staff Writer


I have not yet graduated; O hear me.

Let not the consultant or banker or

Corporate recruiter come near me.


I have not yet graduated; console me.

I fear that the rat race and the industry may

In departments stifle me, with mindless tasks bore me,

With status drug me, with bonuses buy me.


I have not yet graduated; forgive me

For the promise I’ll squander and the gifts I shall waste,

The values I’ll lose and the dreams I shall murder for the sake of

Cold comfort. See my universe narrow,

My nature diminish even as I’m worth more,

Whilst I die the many deaths of the mind.


I have not yet graduated; rehearse me,

In the parts I must play and the cues I must take when

Clients harangue me, colleagues denounce me, the tea lady

Sneers at me, HR throws me under the bus, and

Management orders me hither and

Thither and hither and thither,

And meetings and meetings and meetings,

And my boss hogs the credit.


I have not yet graduated; indulge me.

For these halcyon days will soon pass away

And dissolve into memory’s haze.

So let this life of the mind yet live for a time, let the dance

Go on while there is light and life still left in me.

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