Wednesday, July 08, 2009

A Pre-Poem for Pat on her Leaving

Entry for 21 June 2009:

Pat Butson, one of the parttime tutors, has been teaching on the Monday Parttime course for some time now, but has decided that the stress of the commute from Edinburgh and the pressures on the course from the University, were too much. As a result, she has decided to retire from the course. This past Friday was her last day of work with us, so Thursday night, after my Professorial lecture, we had a leaving function for her at our old Jorndanhill hangout, the Three Craws (= Crows in Scots). We got her a piece of jewelry (Kathleen picked it out), as well as a collection of Spanish music and an earthernware bowl by a local potter (picked out by me).

I seem to have inherited the role of speaking at these functions, so I had the honor of making a little speech for her, composing a short piece I referred to as a “pre-poem” – meaning that it wasn’t polished and was partly improvished.

Afterwards, Pat and, along with two of her fellow former course tutors, Dot Clark and Margaret Harkness, sat and talked and talked until the pub closed and they threw us out. It was a lovely evening, and I will miss her sorely.

* * *

Here is a representation of Pat’s leaving piece:

Wise one, carrier of tradition
Holder of the Process,
I’ve looked to you –
Not for direction,
But for possibility.

Travellor in places
Both rainy and sunny,
You went many places
And were many things
Before you came to us.

You have laboured
In our vineyards,
Long and hard:
Emotional labour.
Generations of students
Have you imprinted
On their souls.

Now you are going –
We wish you could stay! –
But your process
Needs to go on.

So we will bless you
On your way, trusting that
Your process and ours
Will meet again.

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