by Timothy Murphy‘Today, professor, I have prepared the odes.’
Here is a youth who haunts the gods’ abodes
longingly, Helicon and Parnassus,
who studies Latin from the times of Crassus.
His adolescent pimples disappear,
his stutter too. Without a trace of fear
he belts out ‘Kubla Khan’ and ‘Dover Beach’,
all the romantic odes I’d planned to teach.
A thousand lines, I hear out every tale,
odes to the west wind and the nightingale,
to evening, intimations, a Grecian urn.
He’s brought no book, only his heart to burn.
And there I stand thirty-five years ago
saying those lines to Warren in the snow.