Beautiful Ottawa Park
July 10, `77
Yesterday, I spent five hours in the Museum of Science and
Technology. The main attraction was the Soviet Union’s three man
orbiting space capsule on loan to the museum. It was amazing. My five hours were well spent. It was different from the time I spent in the Art Museum, however. At the Art Museum I was awed, while in the Science Museum I spent most of my time considering and deliberating. The combined experience of the two museums was remarkable.
There were plenty of bicycle trails in Ottawa, but today was the
first time I hopped on my bike since I arrived. It felt good. Any
biking before today would have been a chore. I had been told this city
was an innovator in catering to the silent two-wheeled clan, and now
I’m sure of it. I’m presently sitting on some rocks overlooking
waterfalls on the Ottawa River.
Right after I found this marvelous place, three young university
Professors had found their way to the same panoramic view that I was enjoying. I was sitting just off the path, but I could hear their
conversation reasonably well. I found it so intriguing that I had to
stop writing. They had come to Ottawa for some kind of academic
conference. What I found really interesting was the way they were
self-promoting themselves. It was as if each thought the other was not in the same “ballpark,” academically speaking that is. In fact, they
took turns defending their credentials. Much of the “persuasion” had
to do with ranking the journals they had published in and how they
rated, academically speaking, their employers. They all taught at
universities with respectable academic reputations—wealthy
universities. My ears really picked up when they turned to berating
one of the convention presenters. Apparently, he was on a burgeoning
career path when he taught at the University of Hawaii, but, according to them, when he jumped ship and went to Central Michigan University, a fourth rate institution, his chances of making it in the world of “academic excellence” had all but disappeared.
Well, as might be expected, when they started berating my university I began to respect these academic elites a whole lot less. Before I left
that beautiful spot, I managed to get some of my feelings down on
paper. My poem, the Invisible Rebuttal was the result. I guess these
other poems are finished also:
The Invisible Rebuttal
Knowing I have created
and admiring my present
I am disturbed
to think my thoughts
would think themselves
a lofty lot
if perchance they bent themselves
toward degrees of PhD’s;
for knowledge is
as knowledge does,
and in the end
those who only see
the `lonely tree’
will find themselves
within the plot
which reads aloud
I knew a lot.
Wind swept nights,
bright lights shining
in a seed of new decay;
time travels onward
conjuring dominions past,
waiting for summer’s rain
and new life beginnings.
and waits and waits,
until the bread,
and then it moves
A drunken poet,
a toast to death,
only a fool would toast again,
bartender another drink.
On hard rocks,
with speckled dots
in relief on black sunshine;
I hold my hand above my face,
and wait a tired long time.
Come to me in filtered light,
come to me by shaded night,
lead me in your shining wonder
while hidden from my sight.
swallowed in seas,
in a cloak of magic symmetry
she waits for me.