Monday, October 09, 2017

Shadow world

A poet colleague who taught at our school for three decades before retiring to Mexico came back for a visit today, a year on. A bunch of us veterans gathered in a nearby bar to fête him, trade gossip, but mainly to reminisce. (Actually, like in the old days when we were an endless discussion about pedagogy, each of us who'd taught today also recounted what had happened in our class.) It was a bittersweet thing. From his perspective, living abroad, the school a not-quite but progressively distant memory, the difference between last year, five years ago, fifteen, even twenty-five is less important than it is to us. Especially we know who is still here, and who is here no longer. Some have left to other positions (or to none) but in particular we felt the presence of colleagues who have died, two in the last year. I don't think of myself as part of a generation which has started losing people, nor as so long at this school as to know some of its lamented dead. Think again.

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