Old Main by Thomas Martin Sobottke


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You stand proud in stately beauty there
in the center of the campus
where generations of scholars ventured to understand and have

walked
wrote
studied
pondered
worried
doubted sincerely
felt certainty
smiled with joy

overcome with immense sadness,

lived
loved
striven to achieve
advancing age with only memories
to die and be forgotten by all those not a part of that journey.

Your cream colored brickwork testimony to the permanence
of the quest for knowledge
the tradition and respect for place and past
bearing the burdens of great events,
that shocked and changed a world,
humankind itself often lying in the balance,

where now the young ones walk in such innocence
not knowing yet that humbling thing they too must feel
a rite of passage to obtain their own memories distinctive to them,
with those yet to come to this place of honor
you yet bear the weight time bestows with such elegance.

Sturdy, dark rich woods and ornate carved doorways
bannisters sliding and curving with stairs carrying them upward,
seekers of truth with infinite footfalls heard by
Socratic elders waiting to impart what they know
and most importantly what they may never know
but who desire nonetheless to inspire their charges
to undertake the quest.

You are not now a structure displaying the fashionable,
a present sense of rightness or aesthetic beauty.

Yet there you are for so many to rally to in loyalty,
defining for all who may care to know
what this place of learning and knowledge is
and what it will always be.

-October 2013

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