Poem: Raiders of the lost hark

BY ROGER PAO

I.

Not that the renovations failed beauty, not that the plush lounge area that headily plungestoward sophistication cannot be a source of newfound pride,not that the glass-paneled doorsdo not have a livelier pull than the spring before….

Inside the cocoon of the Harkness, summer rendered its metamorphosis through and through.

Summer changes places. Summer changes people, too.Summer after summer, the law campussurvives its students. It is the students who change most of all.

II.

Named after Christopher Columbus Langdell, the law library does not fail beauty.

C.C. Langdell is dead. He was neither the case method nor the law library. He must have had friendson the all-male, all-white faculty,been a lover to somebody who loved him back.

Most of all, he must have cared about his students as profoundly as he knew how,as students often like to imagine their professors do.

Under the nineteenth century moon, he must have lain awake in his white long pajamas with the white sheets pulled down to his ankles, sprawled about like a crescent pearl in a giant oyster featherbed, a little fearful of failure, concocting the case method.

When he muttered, “to teach,” he must have also meant “to love,”with all the Socratic horrors that love can entail.

III.

Love is revolutionary in its ability to disguise itself. It can take the form of eleven lacquered wooden pillars,but the form is not love.

If C.C. Langdell came back to life for a day, the Harkand his book-filled, multi-tiered namesake might impress him briefly. But by sunset, he would start to miss his former students who wandered through campus over a century ago.

We seldom miss places with the same fiercenesswe miss people – yearning, not comforted, blazingly florescent as the name labels on our Hark boxes.

Roger Pao is a 2L. His poetry will appear regularly.

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