Friday, May 24, 2013

Rebel Girl's Poetry Corner: "Beneath us the teachers"


Gratitude to Old Teachers
—Robert Bly

When we stride or stroll across the frozen lake,
We place our feet where they have never been.
We walk upon the unwalked. But we are uneasy.
Who is down there but our old teachers?

Water that once could take no human weight
We were students then—holds up our feet,
And goes on ahead of us for a mile.
Beneath us the teachers, and around us the stillness.

*

It's commencement day in the South Orange District.  Saddleback in the morning, IVC in the later afternoon.  Expect prayers and balloons, speeches and platitudes, happy graduates and (we hope) Chunk's glorious photos (he took the one above).

Yesterday, some of us journeyed across town to the retirement party of one of UCI's founding faculty members.  UCI was, as we told a new hire who accompanied us, the place where we were once young and beautiful. Ha.  It was SRO and cake (see pic below) and a fruit and vegetable cascade as big as Rebel Girl's small car - all in tribute for the poet who has been teaching at UCI since 1965 and who has taught and mentored a few of our own faculty and some of our students as well.  Rebel Girl remains loyal and grateful to those institutions and teachers who helped her have the life she has, even when, as they do on occasion, disappoint.  She knows she did her part too, as she reminds her own students, it's hard work.  But it wouldn't have been possible without those old teachers.  So, to echo the Bly poem, gratitude to old teachers.

Cake!

It was good to see our former professors now and recall how they once were and glimpse our own young selves in the crop of MFAs and PhDs milling about the room, standing so others could sit, one young couple holding their 6 day old infant just outside the door.


Ah, art majors!
*


Vasquez is the artist who painted the mural that hangs in IVC's B-100.

*

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

I always like the commencement photos on the blog.

Anonymous said...

What's on that cake?

Anonymous said...

Ribbons.

Anonymous said...

Boy, they really went all out with the keynote speaker at commencement today- the former UCLA lunch-lady, now the head greeter at Disneyland. So inspiring!

Anonymous said...

Great poem for the end of the semester and commencement. It reminds us that we're all former students. It's great that people stay in touch with their former profs at UCI.

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