For Bernard Iddings Bell

The dean in robes put up a fight to save
the young from rising fads and crowd cultures.
The board shrugged off the words of this odd slave
to votes of dead men catching eyes of vultures.

The birds began to circle when they heard
the lawyer ask the use of learning Greek.
And when Bell quoted Plato, they all jeered
and burned to toss him out like an antique.

He made boys stand when he walked in the room
like soldiers rise to keep their pride at bay.
For this offense the board winced and consumed
the robes and books and dean like birds of prey.

The chairman called the members to a vote,
and Bell prayed for their souls and grabbed his coat.


“Harper Library” photo, courtesy of Rick Seidel via Flickr


Clinton Collister

Poetry Editor of The North American Anglican


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