Searching for Macmillan Hall
When we walk the campus
to what used to be the center,
we might miss the venerable place.
Taller piles of brick and towers
obscure the central space
of Western Pennsylvania brownstone.
Who hasn’t heard the poet moan:
“Present concerns shroud the past;
Granddad’s principles will not last.”
But as we turn the corner
at the edge of vast Old Main,
we may glimpse a simpler grace
in the Ur-construction
of Washington College
(before Jefferson was spackled on)
and on higher ground,
raised up from lower down
near the center of the town.
We’ll see the wings added
before the world flew west
past our hills to flatter nests.
Maybe we’ll hear that vines
grew up the extended wings,
that J-men felt like ivy kings!
Then one will say, “A trustee quipped
that vines weaken most things.”
Presto, the vines are stripped.
Another then will say, “A sage opined
that walls are firmer when envined.”
A committee will study the case
and advise us to coat the face
with a super-brick-embracing kind
of paint that holds old walls in place.
“Save the symbol!” We’ll apply the cure.
Is paint sufficient to insure
that we will keep our symbol pure?
I don’t know, but here’s the plan:
sustain Grandad’s dream, if we can;
and if we’ve mislaid the liberal arts,
let’s find out where they are, Dear Hearts!
Copyright © Bill Keen | Year Posted 2019
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