The poem is on the model of Edward Fitzgerald’s translation of Omar Khahyam’s Rubaiyat
Ah, let’s raise the glass to the profs we knew,
Before their ashes, on the briney blue,
Sink to primal ooze, where their wisdom grew,
Sans book, sans seminars and sans world view.
Alike for those who put their teaching first,
And those, ‘involved in research,’ their classes cursed,
Aristotle and Einstein, demi-gods,
Sing, “Fools, fill your minds from the universe!”
“Why should one take the time to read scribble
Of those who, over the inane, quibble?
Any zoologist from the real world knows
Only an ape studies another ape’s dribble!”
Myself, when young, wanted a Ph.D.
The better to make me, from boredom, free.
I struggled for “A’s” and prepared for tests,
And with not a prof did I disagree!
With them the seeds of knowledge did I sow,
And with my own brain did I make them grow,
But this is all the harvest that I reap’d:
We’re worth very little for what we know.
Trash that ‘quality/quantity’ clich퀌�;
What differentiates us, it’s sad to say,
Is how our narrow knowledge finds some use
For those few who dictate on Market Day.
Oh, you can cry that the system’s askew-
And that it has faults , is surely quite true,
But the larger question for me-and you:
“From within this maelstrom, what we can we do?”
“The answer, my friends, is written on the wind,”
Which carries weeds on wings, all spiney skinned.
“Let your garden grow,” as Candide counseled:
Nourish humanity, and the weeds exscind.
Ralph Bunch, Emeritus Prof