Here you learned to be precise,
to parse sentences and prove out
equations, to walk the tightrope of
geometric formulae, run the rapids
of Russian novels, and climb the cliffs
of history with no safety net below. And
here you learned to dream of a world
beyond here, and to find your place in
it, to imagine yourself armed with hope
and love moving forward into an uncertain
world. Here too, perhaps, you learned
that for every question there is another,
that truth is elusive and can slide from
your hand, and so became careful, even
cautious, hesitant, too willing to believe that
truth lies always in the middle, to round off
each corner and avoid notes too high or low,
to blend in, to play it safe, to compromise
...and so this rapidly aging youth of a utopian
age, now beached by history and stranded
in a strange world, still believing in
possibility, still convinced that history has
not come to an end, and that a better world
will not simply come, but must be wrought,
asks you to forget all he tried to teach, and
to remember only the integrity of your first
scream, to take a stand now and then, to break
bread together, to act with passion and humor,
to use yourself up for others, to risk, to make
mistakes, to resolve to do better, to leave your
footprint on that narrow mountain path which
connects all to all, and to accept my best wishes
for you whom I will surely miss.


June 1993

All written material © Bill Schechter, 2016
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