Friday, January 9, 2009



If but some vengeful god would call to me
From up the sky, and laugh: "Thou suffering thing,
Know that thy sorrow is my ecstasy,
That thy love's loss is my hate's profiting!"

Then would I bear, and clench myself, and die,
Steeled by the sense of ire unmerited;
Half-eased, too, that a Powerfuller than I
Had willed and meted out the tears I shed.

But not so. How arrives it joy lies slain,
And why unblooms the best hope ever sown?
--Crass Casualty obstructs the sun and rain,
And dicing Time for gladness casts a moan . . .
These purblind Doomsters had as readily strown
Blisses about my pilgrimage than pain.

--Thomas Hardy. 1886.

If we begin as we mean to go on, I'd like a do-over. The semester started off well enough in terms of classes and students--nice kids, willing to put some effort and cheerfulness into a required class.

But other things seem to be stacking up--the unexpected loss of a colleague, and of a former student, and of a friend's mother. The former student, in particular, is hitting hard; he was a really nice kid who just wanted to live his life like any other eighteen-year-old, but cancer got in the way.

Hardy's poem, with its rage and sorrow, says it far better than I can.

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