Thursday, February 26, 2009

Liberal Arts Redux

Continuing yesterday's theme:

I Tell Them I'm a Liberal Arts Major


And then, of course, they say: how quaint; and what are you
going to do with that?
What am I going to do with it?
As though these four phenomenal years were an object I could cart away from college—
a bachelor's degree across my back like an ermine jacket,
or my education hung from a ceiling on a string.
What am I going to do with it?
Well, I thought perhaps I'd put it in a cage
to see if it multiplies or does tricks or something
so I could enter it in a circus
and realize a sound dollar-for-dollar return
on my investment.
Then, too, I am exploring the possibility of
whipping it out like a folding chair
at V.F.W. parades and Kiwanis picnics.
I might have it shipped and drive through Italy.
Or sand it down and sail it.
What am I going to do with it?
I'll tell you one thing:
I'm probably never going to plant sod around it.
You see, I'm making it a definitive work:
repapering parts of my soul
that can never be toured by my friends;
wine glass balanced in one hand,
warning guests to watch the beam
that hits people on the head
when they go downstairs to see the den.
You don't understand—
I'm using every breath to tread water
in all-night swimming competitions
with Hegel, Marx, and Wittgenstein;
I am a reckless diver fondling the bottom of civilization for ropes of pearls;
I am whispering late into the night on a river bank with Zola;
I am stopping often, soaking wet and exhausted, to weep at the Bastille.
What am I going to do with it?
I'm going to sneak it away from my family
gathered for my commencement
and roam the high desert
making love to it.

Carol Jin Evans, Metropolitan State College

Published in Keys to Liberal Arts Success, Howard W. Figler, Carol Carter, Joyce Bishop, and Sarah Lyman Kravits. Prentice Hall, 2002, pp. 6-7.
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