David Wagoner
 
 

 

         A PROFESSOR'S SLOW PROGRESS

We recognize, from his scowl and steady pace,

He has a purpose and may be making progress

Across our campus this morning. His white hair

Is turning in the wind, changing in all directions

Like the freshman fountain among the green and purple

And resurrected and prolonged and braided

And filigreed and love-knotted and mohawked

Others who are invading the halls of Sport

And Business and the Memorial Grove

Of our nearly, dearly, and yearly remembered founders

And donors. And now in chronological orderó

Full face, profile, much-abused rear viewó

We watch him pass (without a mortar board

Or a skull cap or a weather-wise beret

To crown his eyes and ears and his set mouth)

And follow him up stairs, through a corridor

Into a room where he becomes a source

Of uneasy answers to harder and harder questions,

Where he lifts and puts aside pieces of paper

On which unfinished poems have begun

To pull themselves into shape through exercise,

Where after serious, close examination

He says in his own words something he thinks

Is crucial concerning nearly all of ours.

Copyright © 2002 David Wagoner.  All Rights Reserved.

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