Valedictory Speech: A Sonnet

There was a time, not long ago, when handling plagiarism cases was the hardest part of my job. There are no words for days like today–and yet words, perhaps, are all we have. There will come a time for concrete thoughts and article-writing. But for now, Poetry must step in and do its job.

VALEDICTORY SPEECH
We say we know. But we don’t really know.
We frown in solemn offices, make note
Of every absence, every day you run
In fields of hyacinth beneath the sun,
Or sleep off too much wine, and do not go
To class, or miss the tests that others wrote.
With sighs of resignation, we extend
A paper, or a deadline—not an ear
To reasons, or excuses, or the cause
Of laboured breathing that should give us pause—
For ours is not to counsel, to befriend,
To ache inside, to shed a tardy tear
For sleep, for flowers, for the hanging veil.
Forgive us. Sometimes it is we who fail.

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