Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Let's Hope

I was accused of being a cynic this morning. See, we had a meeting in my department at the university, and a plan was floated whereby we would have town meetings and discuss proposals for making our college better and better. These proposals would be winnowed out in a fair and open fashion and a number of proposals given to the new dean that we are in the process of hiring.
I ventured to opine that a new dean coming into an unknown situation might balk at having a bunch of untried proposals thrust upon him/her. Hence the "cynic" label.
It would be wonderful, wouldn't it, if the rank and file could indeed gather together, come up with ideas, and have those ideas taken seriously? It's never happened in the past, though. We're asked for ideas, we give them, and they are never heard from again.
For inspiration, I always go to poets, and strangely enough, I generally choose from those who are thought to be cynical. And I was rewarded by my search today (The poems follow). What I get from them is this: A) You can't lose all hope for good things to happen, and 2) even if it's futile, keep on trucking.

The Oxen
Thomas Hardy

Christmas Eve, and twelve of the clock.
"Now they are all on their knees,"
An elder said as we sat in a flock
By the embers in hearthside ease.

We pictured the meek mild creatures where
They dwelt in their strawy pen,
Nor did it occur to one of us there
To doubt they were kneeling then.

So fair a fancy few would weave
In these years! Yet, I feel,
If someone said on Christmas Eve,
"Come; see the oxen kneel"

In the lonely barton by yonder coomb
Our childhood used to know,"
I should go with him in the gloom,
Hoping it might be so.


The Last Word
Matthew Arnold

Creep into thy narrow bed,
Creep, and let no more be said!
Vain thy onset! all stands fast.
Thou thyself must break at last.

Let the long contention cease!
Geese are swans, and swans are geese.
Let them have it how they will!
Thou art tired: best be still.

They out-talked thee, hissed thee, tore thee?
Better men fared thus before thee;
Fired their ringing shot and passed,
Hotly charged - and sank at last.

Charge once more, then, and be dumb!
Let the victors, when they come,
When the forts of folly fall,
Find thy body by the wall!

1 comment:

Becky Stauffer said...

Yes, we do have to keep on.

You are at your best when quoting poetry, Ron.