The dull, the dead, the gruesome...

I have been on radio silence for a spell. The combination of teaching a new five-credit prep and the accelerated night course has just about done me in. I am working until 10:30 pm two nights a week and have to be back here at 8:00 am the next morning. I don't know why I did this to myself, and I'm thankful this semester will last only a few more weeks. Then, oh sweet oblivion, I can rest. 'Tis a consummation devoutly to be wished.

I am teaching far too much this fall and not teaching well. Everything is read, graded, or planned at the last possible minute. How I long to be that put-together professor whose assignments seamlessly dovetail into carefully crafted outcomes, who is up-to-date with the latest pedegogi-gadgets that bewitch the students into deep learning and cognitive development, who has the time to reflect and tinker, to read a poem or even see a film.

What I am is an exhausted drudge who is struggling to remain two chapters ahead of the students in the texts. I taught Plato last night, I will teach the Inferno this morning, Shakespeare this afternoon, and a lesson on morality and science tomorrow morning. Ye gods, I swear never to do this to myself again.

Years ago, when I was struggling to write, I penned a little poem lamenting the need to write a lot of bad poems just to keep writing. Somehow that old poem seems apt this morning. You just have to keep going, even when you are stinking it up. You have to swear to yourself it will get better.

"Swear Words"

For eight years
I have let bad language be,
Lived with the dull,
The dead, the gruesome.
At best, honest only to the point
Of honest delusion.
Another eight years, then,
Without hope, subtlety,
Or flair?
A lifetime of letting
Bad language be?
As the ghost says to
Hamlet:
“Swear.”

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