My Last Students
H. R. Stoneback
“The curtain I have drawn for you . . .”
-Robert Browning, My Last Duchess
For AS, JC & NLL, December 7, 2019
For fifty years I taught on Tuesday nights
so many graduate seminars—Faulkner,
Hemingway, Warren, Ballads—all that talking,
so much Tuesday-talking, rhythm of life
well-lived. And now this thing they call retirement.
Of course, I’ll keep on talking down the roads
of all the world, one-shot visiting keynotes,
lectures, poetry readings, faces always different
nevermore the same faces every Tuesday
the depth and passion of earnest glances,
hearts made glad by perfect sentences,
curtains opened in profound and amused ways—
it happened every Tuesday half a century.
But now at last it’s curtains for the classroom.
And if the road brings weary gathering gloom
rows of faces linger as I stand Sentry—
listening for the password to Eternity
or maybe just another Tuesday