college epiphany (a true story)
at precisely 10 o’clock he
(a distinguished professor in the history department)
closed the door and walked briskly to the lectern
“There is one song…,”
he whirled on us
in an exaggeratedly sotto voce
he crouched forward dramatically
leaning into the first row of seats
then paced back and forth across the front of the classroom
like Holmes to our Watsons
his hands in a sweeping gesture across the entire spellbound auditorium
My Sharona was now receding into the dim, dark, distant past
quod erat demonstrandum!
Have You Never Been Mellow — Olivia Newton-John
photograph by Hannah Grace via Unsplash (edit)
Ars Nova (1980)
to the window
a new room
a whole world
I found it — here
a Dowland transcription
“A Fancy” — John Dowland performed by Eva Beneke
Terry Eiler, “Training Class For Havasupai Teachers in Reading and Language Instruction Methods” (ca. 1972)
Your voice and his I heard in those non-lectures —
Hammock chairs sprawled skew-wise all about;
Moore in the armchair bent on writing it all out —
Each soul agog for any word of yours…
Poke the fire again!
Open the window!
Shut it! — patient pacing unavailing.
Barren the revelations on the ceiling —
Dash back again to agitate a cinder.
“Oh it’s so clear! It’s absolutely clear!”
—I.A. Richards, “The Strayed Poet” (excerpt)
“Learning To Fly” by Tom Petty / Heartbreakers
Lons Ramsdell, “School’s Out” (Home Movies Magazine, 1950)
Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, “Helen Keller, three-quarter length, seated, facing right; holding hand of her teacher, Mrs. John A. Macy (Anne Mansfield Sullivan)” (ca. 1909)
Where is my boy, my boy—
In what far part of the world?
The boy I loved best of all in the school?—
I, the teacher, the old maid, the virgin heart,
Who made them all my children.
Did I know my boy aright,
Thinking of him as spirit aflame,
Active, ever aspiring?
Oh, boy, boy, for whom I prayed and prayed
In many a watchful hour at night,
Do you remember the letter I wrote you
Of the beautiful love of Christ?
And whether you ever took it or not,
My boy, wherever you are,
Work for your soul’s sake,
That all the clay of you, all of the dross of you,
May yield to the fire of you,
Till the fire is nothing but light!…
Nothing but light!
–Edgar Lee Masters, Spoon River Anthology
“Wind Beneath My Wings” by Bette Midler
State Archives of North Carolina, “…Duplin County Schools” (ca.1949)
I saw them and I knew them all. And yet
Dauntless the slug-horn to my lips I set,
And blew “Childe Roland to the Dark Tower came.”
—Robert Browning, “Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came”
“School Day” by Chuck Berry
Anna Curtis Chandler & Irene F. Cypher, “Audio-visual techniques for enrichment of the curriculum” (1948)
Go, wondrous creature! mount where science guides,
Go, measure earth, weigh air, and state the tides;
Instruct the planets in what orbs to run,
Correct old time, and regulate the sun…
—Alexander Pope, An Essay on Man
When all the stair was sped beneath us and we were on the topmost step Virgil fixed his eyes on me and said: “The temporal fire and the eternal thou hast seen, my son, and art come to a part where of myself I discern no further. I have brought thee here with understanding and with skill…No longer expect word or sign from me. Free, upright and whole is thy will and it were a fault not to act on its bidding…”
—Dante Alighieri, The Divine Comedy: Purgatorio
“Dr. Adams told me that Johnson, while he was at Pembroke College, ‘was caressed and loved by all about him, was a gay and frolicksome fellow, and passed there the happiest part of his life.’ But this is a striking proof of the fallacy of appearances, and how little any of us know of the real internal state even of those whom we see most frequently…”
—Boswell’s Life Of Johnson
T. M. Weaver, “Far From The Madding Crowd” (ca. 1911)
Imagine a young man, alone, without anyone.
The moment a few raindrops streaked his glass
he began to scribble.
He lived in a tenement with mice for company.
I loved his bravery.
Someone else a few doors down
played Segovia records all day.
He never left his room, and no one could blame him.
At night he could hear the other’s
typewriter going, and feel comforted.
Literature and music.
Everyone dreaming of Spanish horsemen
Processions. Ceremony, and
Days of rain and high water.
Leaves hammered into the ground finally.
In my heart, this plot of earth
that the storm lights.
–Raymond Carver, “Aspens” from All of Us: Collected Poems (Alfred A. Knopf)
Northeastern University Course Catalog (1982-83)