In memory of Professor Veddar Gilbert


Why you loved the Eighteenth Century,

literary age so dry even Blake

clamored to escape it,

eludes me. Only your silvery hair,


three-piece suit, snuffbox of grace

remotely fit the age. One time,

life gone bad, memory rekindled,

feeble heart not yet silenced,


I saw fear etched in your iron eyes,

shared for an instant uncertainty,

prayed for you as your chest heaved,

laboring for answers not found


in your stern love-of-Johnson past.

Here in this marbled forest for dead

Goldsmith would have brooded over,

your tombstone, restrained with gray,


like the age, branded with  "Tyger, tyger,

burning bright," goes dull in its search

for some pastoral clue -- the granite

obscured by dusk and then by night. 

                              Timothy Pilgrim