When the lecture is over,
when they close their notebooks crammed
with the ghastly facts of Gettysburg and Waterloo,
sodden fields covered with numberless dead,
students file out unaware that the real war
as Departmental meetings shatter into
armed bands hurling
mortar rounds of genuine contempt,
and shrapnel of complete disgust,
great armies of ego on the march
circling warily in the shadows,
preparing for pitched battles on
the bloody turf of curriculum and courses.
Students, close your books! Put down your pens!
Forget dead centuries past, and just wait an hour!
Behind that meeting room door, the human
drama unfolds, on the only stage
there has ever been, where
betrayal, passion, and envy
contend, propelling us
through the actual
textbook of life.
March 25, 1994