It’s a little known fact that the Leaving Certificate results are delivered to schools on behalf of the authorities by the wizened Saint Joseph of Cupertino. He works quickly and quietly over the course of an evening, and it’s said to be bad luck to cross his path on the only night of the year he comes out of hiding.
Twas the night before the LC results, when all through the school
Not a creature was stirring, not even an owl.
The dusters were lined up by the blackboard with care,
In hopes that St Joseph soon would be there.
The swotters were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of A1s danced in their heads.
And the headmistres in her nightgown, and the dog on his bed,
Had just settled their brains for a short evening read.
When out on the street there arose such a clatter,
She sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window she flew like a flash,
Tore open the net curtains and threw up the sash.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen dew
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below.
When, what to her wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny examdeer.
With a little old driver, so lethargic and slow,
she knew in a moment it must be St Joe.
More tardy than badgers Joe’s coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!
“Now English! now, Bus Org! now, German and Hist’ry!
On, Latin! On, Spanish! on Physics and Music!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!”
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky.
So up to the school-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of results, and St Joseph too.
And then, in a twinkling, the headmistress heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As she drew in her head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St Joseph he came with a bound.
He was dressed all in feathers, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.
A bundle of Leaving Certificates he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler, just opening his pack.
His eyes-how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like posies, his nose like a berry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a moon,
And the beard of his chin was as white as ‘la lune’.
The stump of a cigarette he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.
He had a fat face and a horrid pot belly,
That shuddered when he laughed, like strawberry jelly!
He was flabby and fat, a right ugly old foot,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of my gut!
A blink of his eye and a nod of his head,
Soon gave Headmistress to know she had nothing to dread.
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the envelopes, then turned with a jerk.
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose!
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But she heard him exclaim, ‘ere he drove out of sight,
“Happy Exam Results to all, and to all a good-night!”
(Apologies to Clement Clarke Moore and good luck to all those getting their results tomorrow.)