The Charge of the Perfect Grade

John Hydrisko

For many students, the first few weeks of school are easy. Most classes are little more than an attendance grade. Even those that give you a mark or two require a pulse, if that. Many students have perfect scores, but then comes the first real test, and it all comes back rather quickly. Victorian poet Sir John Hyde-Risqo (1809- 1892) knows just how you feel.

Test today, test today,
Test today in Econ,
All in the valley of Death
With their one hundreds.
So long, my perfect grade!
“Fill in the Scantron.” he said.
Into the valley of Death
With their one hundreds.

So long, my perfect grade!
All were in disarray,
The students felt so blue.
Big words and numbers,
They have to make reply,
They have to reason why,
Theirs but to do and cry.
Into the valley of Death
With their one hundreds.

Graphs to the right of them,
Charts to the left of them,
Bubbles in front of them,
Questioned and wondered;
Stormed at with sheets and ink,
Made them recall and think,
Into the jaws of death,
Into the pit they sink
With their one hundreds.

Scratched all their pencils dull,
Tore facts from in their skulls,
Filling the bubbles there,
Charging an army, while
All the school wondered.
In the room no one spoke,
As twenty-three hearts broke.
Miller and Capone
Reeled from pencil stroke,
Answered and wondered.
They left the class, but not
Not with one hundreds.

Charts to the right of them,
Graphs to the left of them,
Bubbles behind them
Questioned and answered.
Stormed at with sheets of ink,
Answers out of sync,
Heroes who can but think,
Came through the Jaws of Death
Brought from the darkest brink,
All that was left of it,
Left of one hundred.

When can their glory fade?
O’ the bold guesses they made!
All the school wondered.
So much for efforts made,
So long my perfect grade!
No more one hundred.