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John Harvard's Journal | Commencement 2002

"Upon The Occasion of Your Graduation"

July-August 2002

Although—let us be right out front
—there is nothing gradual about it.
Surely your progress has been digestively slow,
Has claimed—like an eggshell the egg;
Egg, yolk—your whole life.
But the truth of your arrival, and what now follows,
Is the truth of birds, a vertical reality
Into which one who would soar must abruptly fall
Between first leap and first flight.
No small trick, either, to gaze confidently upward
While experiencing the gravity of your situation.
Ecce hobo; behold the graduate, a tasseled thing
With parchment wings suspended in air with holes in it.

 

And yet I can see you aloft already
If only in my mind's eye:
With the vision of owls to see in the dark,
Curiosity of crows,
Endurance of wild, homeless geese,
I expect you to struggle into your sky,
Rise, glide, wheel and dive,
Sport with the wind and spin with storm,
Migrate finally, a wingbeat past the moon,
To wherever your nature calls you.

 

Roosting now, I but dimly recall
My fledgling flights or hear cry my reasons.
A park bird, I'll watch for your return,
Let your flights mark my seasons.

 

~Bernard Huebner

After 20 years teaching in the Maine public schools, Bernard Huebner '65, M.A.T. '69, was decertified last year for refusing to submit to the fingerprinting and national criminal-history background check newly required of all school personnel in that state. A resident of Waterville, Maine, he is finishing a book manuscript entitled "Prints of Darkness: The Rise of the Digital Police State."