"As kingfishers catch fire, dragonflies draw flame; / [ . . . ] Each mortal thing does one thing and the same: / Deals out that being indoors each one dwells; / Selves -- goes itself; 'myself' it speaks and spells, / Crying 'What I do is me; for that I came'." --Gerard Manley Hopkins

13 September 2006

Home Thoughts

My students are writing an essay which will include description of a place. Last night I was playing around with the mode a bit myself, and I came up with this, from my years at the University of Kansas. The true irony, to my mind, is that Wescoe is the humanities building . . . :( Six years in it was -- what shall I say? -- uninspiring.

Wescoe Hall squats ungracefully in the campus center. Its concrete walls could not speak beauty in any setting; the surrounding buildings of native limestone and red tile roofs only heighten its dullness. These older buildings lift the eye toward heaven with towers or turrets or steeply sloped gables. Wescoe sprawls across the land, low to the ground, flat-roofed, ashamed perhaps to usurp the heart of this centuries-old place with its unlovely modernity.

There are fun places I could go with this very rough sketch, but student essays call. Perhaps I'll revisit it.

(P.S. The Shenk review will appear in October's Touchstone, for those who are keeping track.)


Cindy said...

Woo! Woo! Good timing, as October is a downish sort of month, too. :)

I like the description. Why is it that the humanities building would be the icky-looking one? Give the humanities marble and columns and frescos and soaring windows...

alaiyo said...

Thanks, LuCindy! I enjoyed playing with it. As I typed it into the weblog, I started seeing *so* many possibilities for it . . . but alas! time does not allow. At least it's recorded so maybe I won't forget about it altogether!