It's been a busy time these last few months, and I have several updates to post!
I thought I would start by posting this moving poem by Howard Nemerov, two-time Poet Laureate and esteemed professor of English here at the university from 1969 to 1991. I never had the chance to meet him, but he was a dear friend of Joseph Tucker, who quoted the poem below, on the spur of the moment, at his 92nd birthday party last weekend. It reminded us all of how connected we are, and how dependent upon each other.
Professor Nemerov is well represented in Special Collections. His personal papers -- including drafts, with manuscript revisions, of this poem -- are housed in the Manuscript Unit. His personal library forms part of our book collections, and his university-related activities are documented in the University Archives. We welcome scholars and friends of Professor Nemerov to stop in for a visit anytime.
The DependenciesThis morning, between two branches of a tree
Beside the door, epeira once again
Has spun and signed his tapestry and trap.
I test his early-warning system and
It works, he scrambles forth in sable with
The yellow hieroglyph that no one knows
The meaning of. And I remember now
How yesterday at dusk the nighthawks came
Back as they do about this time each year,
Grey squadrons with the slashes white on wings
Cruising for bugs beneath the bellied cloud.
Now soon the monarchs will be drifting south,
And then the geese will go, and then one day
The little garden birds will not be here.
See how many leaves already have
Withered and turned; a few have fallen, too.
Change is continuous on the seamless web,
Yet moments come like this one, when you feel
Upon your heart a signal to attend
The definite announcement of an end
Where one thing ceases and another starts;
When like the spider waiting on the web
You know the intricate dependencies
Spreading in secret through the fabric vast
Of heaven and earth, sending their messages
Ciphered in chemistry to all the kinds,
The whisper down the bloodstream: it is time.
[Mr. Tucker's birthday addendum: "...to eat!"]
From: The Collected Poems of Howard Nemerov (University of Chicago Press, 1977)