Friday, January 08, 2010


Graves of Academe

Howard Nemerov, A Full Professor:
Surely there was, at first, some love of letters
To get him started on the routine climb
That brought him to this eminence in time?
But now he has become one of his betters.

He has survived, and even fattened on,
The dissertation and the discipline.
The eyes are spectacled, the hair is thin,
He is a dangerous committeeman.

An organism highly specialized,
He diets on, for daily bill of fare,
The blood of Keats, the mind of poor John Clare;
Within his range, he cannot be surprised.

Publish or perish! What a frightful chance!
It troubled him through all his early days.
But now he has the system beat both ways;
He publishes and perishes at once.

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