Saturday, May 07, 2011

The Transcendent Witch Emerita of Oz

The Transcendent Witch Emerita of Oz

Entry for April 30, 2011:
Poem for Jeanne Brockmyer on her retirement
Video at:

No, I can’t imagine you in blue gingham,
But still I picture you setting out,
A young woman, blond hair flying,
Like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz.

Travelling through strange lands --
Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Illinois, Ohio --
Collecting loyal companions along the way,
It’s a long journey, and it doesn’t always
Go according to the Book:
One dog isn’t enough, and
Your tin woodman loses heart along the way.

But there are plenty of flying monkeys,
Wicked Witches, little people;
Betrayals and acts of courage,
Partings, and reunions;
Many adventures.

At some point we realize
There’s been a career progression:
Instead of staying stuck in the same role,
Like Dorothy in book after book,
You get promoted to Distinguished Senior
Research Witch --
Jean, Good Witch of the Main Campus.

Teacher and mentor for generations
Of apprentice witches and wizards,
We, your travelling companions,
Witness your fierce loyalty,
How you take up your magic notebook
Against the abuse of the weak,
The hypnosis of mindless violence.

Now you’ve been promoted again:
Hail, Jean,
Transcendent Witch Emerita of Oz!

What’s next for you?
What further journeys,
Promotions, transformations?

As TWE, you are now able to travel
Anywhere you want
Using the silver shoes
That came with your promotion.

Deadly Deserts? Clashing rocks?
No problem!
As TWE, you can practically be everywhere.

But I’ve a hunch that most of the time
We’ll know where to find you:
In your backyard, with your dogs,
And your Magic Book;
There’s no place like home!

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