for Walter 'Duke' Duchinowski

Through twenty-four years of emergencies
       of every description,

Duke walked.

           Bursting pipes
            Broken glass

he walked,

          Leaking roofs
           Flooded floors

he walked,

         Cold boilers
        Short circuits

he walked,

          through every daily disaster,
                            and usually twice daily,

he walked,

          surveying the situation with
his artist's eye,
        dealing with each,
                but never hurrying,
                        as if his entire being was telling us,

                  "Let's keep our heads about us,
                                    let's stay calm,
                         deal with things
             as best we can,
                              and get on with it.
      This too will pass away,"
                       and every time he walked
                                    down the halls,
                  which was often,
                                  he taught his own class,
             attended by many,
even while thinking about his family,
                      or about his birds taking flight,                
             after so many hours of carving his visions
  and patience into wood.

All about him, life accelerated. Lab computers
          crunched numbers in nano-seconds.
          Students rushed frantically to class.
          Lunch periods chaotically came
                                       and chaotically went,

but Duke just walked,
somehow getting it all done,
            with kindness and competence,
  and a few well chosen words,
         deeper than what
                most of us taught, and
           for twenty-four years walking,
moving slowly like
            eternity itself,
                   being part of this place, and

being our friend.

June 2000

All written material © Bill Schechter, 2016
Contact Bill Schechter