Several years ago the school at which I used to teach, having received a generous donation from a kindly alumnus, built a gigantic field house in the form of an inflatable dome. It was a truly noteworthy structure, especially in a small town, where, adjacent to our two hockey arenas, its alabaster bulk brooded over the surrounding fields like a Zeppelin about to rise into the ether.
The dedication of this imposing erection was of course attended by suitable festivities, including assemblies and speeches; but I felt the ceremonies lacked something—to wit, an ode. Certainly in times past it would have been unthinkable for so mammoth an accomplishment to occur without suitable words from the local Poet Laureate.
But my school lacked a poet laureate (although I suppose it might someday add one to the staff, provided, of course, that he could also do something useful, like coach a sport) so I decided to supply the need.
Oh muse! To Troy I need not roam
I need not wander far from home
For inspiration; no, my mind
Of thoughts is full--in fact, inflated--
And my spirits are elated
And my ravished eyes dilated
As I contemplate THE DOME.
Vast expanse of supple plastic--Strong and sleek and so elastic--
To our eyes a sight fantastic
Towering o’er the new-dug loam.
In its splendor so stupendous
In its grandeur so tremendous
Kind indeed the gods to send us
Such a marvel. Hail, O DOME!
To limn its glories sure requires
Tolstoy’s pen and heavenly choirs
And a very weighty tome.
Rapt with wonder we behold thee
As the air-pumps do unfold thee
And thy wonders yet untold be
Laid before us, mighty DOME.
Through all lands thy fame is ringing;
Guns are booming, choirs singing,Cars are speeding, planes are winging,
Ships are tossing on the foam:
Kings and scholars, folk discerning,
All to Minnesota turning,
All consumed with febrile yearning
In their haste to view THE DOME.
Athens now will be forgotten,
London seem quite misbegotten,
And who gives a hoot for Rome?Taj Mahal and Notre Dame, too.
Chartres? Invalides? Versailles? Pooh!
Our school proudly boasts THE DOME.
-------------------------------------------But, alas, the works of man are transitory. All comes to an end. The Dome came to an end on April 15, 2018. It seemed appropriate that I add additional verses to my original confection:
Elegy for the Disaster of April 15, 2018
Muses! Hear me in my sorrow!Cloaks of mourning I must borrow...
Here today and gone tomorrow:
Thus it was with the great DOME.
So it came, that fatal one day!We will not forget that Sunday--
Not a Saturday or Monday--
When cruel nature crushed the DOME.
For in April bloomed no flowers,Sang no robins, fell no showers,
It just snowed for hours and hours
And the snow destroyed the DOME.
Tiny flakes accumulatingIn abundance, not abating,
Piling ever higher, waiting
For the flattening of the DOME.
Nature’s wrath was not yet satedSo the storm had not abated...
It was suddenly deflated
And in ruins lay the DOME.
And so came the news appalling:With a crash, like empires falling.
The great structure meanly mauling,
Little snowflakes felled the DOME.
No, we’ll not forget that SundayIn mid-April--’twas no fun day.
Ah! Sic transit gloria mundi.
R.I.P., once-mighty DOME!
-- Brian A. Libby, 4/16/18