Wednesday, November 29 — close the semester’s finish line.
What do we want to tell students as they bring this semester in for a landing with final papers and exams? — These fifteen weeks demanded work, and patience, mistakes and starting over again, but sweat equity moments can be magic, turning plodding into dancing, turning hope into joy.
Poet W H Auden reminds his readers that, when we risk hope and pay attention, the labor can take us to a date with Love. “It’s worth it” — that’s the core promise of a university.
Best to read Auden out loud, with pauses. Have a blest day.
The chimney sweepers
Wash their faces and forget to wash the neck;
The lighthouse keepers
Let the lamps go out and leave the ships to wreck;
The prosperous baker
Leaves the rolls in hundreds in the oven to burn;
Pins a small note on the coffin saying “Wait till I return,
“I’ve got a date with Love.”
And deep-sea divers
Cut their boots off and come bubbling to the top,
Bring expresses in the tunnel to a stop;
The village rector
Dashes down the side-aisle half-way through a psalm;
The sanitary inspector
Runs off with the cover of the cesspool on his arm —
To keep his date with Love.
w h auden
(February 1908 – September 1973)