[Milton-L] Sonnet for our Friend
wilsonh at gram.edu
Tue Mar 15 23:23:53 EDT 2011
I think Kemmer has set a courageous precedent and
a good one. As a fool must occasionally indulge his
own folly, I follow suit.
John Shawcross, notwithstanding minor limitations like sun-spots
or solar flares, was a great scholar who illuminated whatever he
he shared-and made more accessible-the poetry of Milton and Donne;
he deserves some poetry of his own. If only we could be as learned
and diligent, as thoroughly decent, as he and his peers were, or as
urbane as the gentlemen and gentlewomen we study. . .
Bill Hunter, Al Labriola and Kate Frost,
have passed; now Shawcross counts among the lost.
It's curious, what we remember now:
not when, but where; not what they did, but how.
The aging master scholar passes on:
the world's diminished by the glimpse of dawn;
now they are gone, we stand a cubit less:
we take the news perforce, as by duress;
no one discourses of their feats of mind,
we most remember whether they were kind.
Ephemeral pictures dance upon the verge
of memory, the pictures blend and merge;
a sadness seeps inside, suffusing moods
where melancholy comes to roost, and broods.
From: milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu
[mailto:milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu] On Behalf Of Kemmer
Sent: Tuesday, March 15, 2011 11:56 AM
To: Milton-L at lists.richmond.edu
Subject: [Milton-L] Sonnet for our Friend
Sonnet Making for John Shawcross
Mentor, Nestor, Chiron: John Shawcross, Friend,
With bibliographical mind stops to
Consider a question to guide us through
That Miltonic labyrinth while we bend
A line beyond intent, meaning to render
Our design to what sound we thought was true.
Through conversation, he pours out what knew:
>From Eden his voice whispers through the wind.
Eyes rest on a copy of Milton's Prose
Straining to remember questions asked
During a breakfast here in Tennessee.
Those unfinished thoughts will bloom like a rose
Tilled in gardens far from Paradise tasked
With loving labors that set our minds free.
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