MCC Daily Tribune
President's Wednesday Message
I don't typically write a Wednesday Message on weeks when I'm sharing the Message to the College Community, believing that you've likely heard enough from me at that point. But this week is different. I was lucky enough to receive a copy of Poetic Moods, a posthumous volume of poetry by MCC Professor Emerita Jeanne Kilpatrick Ghent. In tribute to her talents and her legacy, her family had planned to publish this collection of poems as a gift. All were written by Professor Ghent as a young woman in New York City. The poems vividly capture the world and experiences of a younger version of the woman her family knew as a devoted mother, grandmother, and great grandmother and that MCC knew as a dedicated, powerful, and life-changing teacher. The book was published just weeks after her passing and stands as a worthy celebration of her creativity and spirit.
As we close out National Poetry Month, I share one of her poems with you, itself a tribute:
By Jeanne Kilpatrick Ghent
He walked the walk of a train man
(Rock gently . . . side to side . . . balance self)
A solid stride--yet subtle agility braces
For sudden curve,
for slowing down,
for screeching halt!
(Rock gently . . . balance bags . . . deftly serve at 60mph)
Years of walking on those moving cars
(Rock side to side . . . muscles alert . . . steel against steel against wooden ties)
I never knew as I watched him--
Rising before dawn . . . leaving under gray skies . . .
Walking, ricking, down that cold hard ghetto street
Toward Grand Central . . .
My father walking, rocking thousands of miles
As I grew up . . .
And I never knew . . . never recognized
That walk of a train man
Until, in smug, middle-class adulthood
Another took my bags--
And I followed him aboard
The 20th Century Limited.
My thanks to the family of Professor Ghent for sharing this volume with me. MCC is grateful for the decades she spent nurturing the talents and dreams of others, and I am grateful for the faculty and staff who carry forward this legacy and assure that our College inspires our students every day. If you would like to share your memories of Professor Ghent, please post them on the blog.
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