Thursday, April 19, 2018


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.   


                                   THE DOME

                                 (A Poem)

            Oh muse! To Troy I need not roam 
            A noble epic theme to find: 
            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
            David’s and Apollo’s lyres,
            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 accumulating
In abundance, not abating,
Piling ever higher, waiting
For the flattening of the DOME.

Nature’s wrath was not yet sated
So 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 Sunday
In mid-April--’twas no fun day.
Ah! Sic transit gloria mundi.
R.I.P., once-mighty DOME!

                                -- Brian A. Libby, 4/16/18