There’s More Than One Way to Infinity

Members of the class of 1988 march in the Alumnae Parade

Members of the class of 1988 march in the Alumnae Parade. Photo by Deirdre Haber Malfatto

During the Alumnae Meeting on May 26, 2018, Linda Dove ’88 stood in front of the audience and presented a poem as her class history — perhaps the most beloved tradition of the annual meetings. The poem resonated far beyond her classmates. Dove generously shared the poem with us, and we share an excerpt here.

Watch! It is inside us, this place. History is inside us,
and we are inside it. Our skin cells in the rafters
of the Reading Room, our breath in the stacks,
the molecules of Mary’s grave in our blood.
In the buildings, we are as cornerstones—
in Porter, Safford, Brigham, in Wilder and Mead,
in the cottage windows of Abbey-Buck
and the old glass of the Rockies,
in Pearsons and the Annex, Dickinson,
in Torrey, Ham, and MacGregor,
in the thin walls of Prospect and 1837,
up the last long hill to the Mandelles,
our laughter is caught in the walls,
our tears still feed the pipes, the protest
of the morning radiators banging to life,
the bricks of the walls know us, know our voices,
the trees we walked under remember
our rush, our quick conversations on the way to class,
our saunter home through the bookstore
in the late afternoon for our mail—
the ivy turning red in the fall and the frozen lakes of winter.
Let me tell you what lives under the ice
of Upper Lake—history is there, in the leaf mold
and mud. We are there, still.

*      *      *

Remember! We are the daughters of the red bricks and ivy,
the rooms inside with their eaves and their confidences,
the blackstone-surface of the science labs, the afternoon teas
in the Stimson Room, the V8s—singing.
The bell desks, the dorm bells, the hall phones, the midnight fire
alarms, the bell tower on Mountain Day ringing—upstoppable.
The way our hair turned to icicles on a winter morning,
rushing through campus to class, just like the waterfalls.
The way we stood around the grave and asked for bread and roses
so that our bodies would survive and also know beauty.
We are the daughters of the lakes and the laurel,
the sisters of every single smile and every single tear
shed by once and future students. And watch!
Just watch how our voices still echo through these halls,
just watch how our hands leaf out—
will always leaf out—in springtime over the Green.

—By Linda Dove ’88

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *