MCC Daily Tribune

President's Wednesday Message

As the weather turns windy, wet, and cold, we tend to migrate inside. Some to begin fall baking, some to finish neglected projects, some to soak in the warming glow of Sunday football (Go Bills!), some to curl up with a book and get lost in worlds far away. This past weekend, I did the latter, re-reading poems by Richard Wilbur, US Poet Laureate and winner of two Pulitzer Prizes, who passed away last month at 96. Decades ago, I had the chance to hear Wilbur read his own works, and it was magical.

More than a decade ago, the poet Adrienne Rich wrote of the art that shaped her life, "I hope never to idealise poetry - it has suffered enough from that. Poetry is not a healing lotion, an emotional massage, a kind of linguistic aromatherapy. Neither is it a blueprint, nor an instruction manual, nor a billboard." Yet, there is undeniable power in a well-crafted poem: each word carries enormous weight yet is as soft and well placed as a smoothed feather.

I am honored to serve as chair of the Community College Humanities Association (CCHA), whose annual meeting and conference I will attend next week. CCHA recognizes the importance and value of the humanities in the education of community college students and highlights the inspiring work of community college humanities faculty.

In celebration of Richard Wilbur's remarkable talent and the talents of MCC's humanities faculty and in honor of fall, I share his autumn poem, "The Beautiful Changes" and invite all of us, in this season of burning bright color, to touch back to wonder.

The Beautiful Changes

One wading a Fall meadow finds on all sides

The Queen Anne's Lace lying like lilies

On water; it glides

So from the walker, it turns

Dry grass to a lake, as the slightest shade of you

Valleys my mind in fabulous blue Lucernes.

The beautiful changes as a forest is changed

By a chameleon's tuning his skin to it;

As a mantis, arranged

On a green leaf, grows

Into it, makes the leaf leafier, and proves

Any greenness is deeper than anyone knows.

Your hands hold roses always in a way that says

They are not only yours; the beautiful changes

In such kind ways,

Wishing ever to sunder

Things and things' selves for a second finding, to lose

For a moment all that it touches back to wonder.

(Please share your own thoughts on the blog.)

Kress, Anne
Marketing and Community Relations