Today at the dentist's office (see yesterday's entry -- yes, I survived), I overheard plenty of kids and parents bemoaning back-to-school preparations. It's true -- lots of my professor friends are lamenting this week's last-minute syllabus-building, as well as massive backups at departmental copy machines. While I've done my fair share of complaining in the past, I really miss teaching. What I wouldn't do for a university seminar room and class roster. Or, better still, the privilege of introducing enthusiasts (as well as skeptics) to a poem like Robert Hayden's
THOSE WINTER SUNDAYS
Sundays too my father got up early
and put his clothes on in the blueblack cold,
then with cracked hands that ached
from labor in the weekday weather made
banked fires blaze. No one ever thanked him.
I’d wake and hear the cold splintering, breaking.
When the rooms were warm, he’d call,
and slowly I would rise and dress,
fearing the chronic angers of that house,
Speaking indifferently to him,
who had driven out the cold
and polished my good shoes as well.
What did I know, what did I know
of love’s austere and lonely offices?