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Poem: Celebrating 100 Years of Middlebury Language Schools

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Posted on July 20, 2015 | Blog Category:
By Gary Margolis



Celebrating 100 Years of Middlebury Language Schools

Can I say a word I haven’t said before,

      speak in a field’s blossoming tongue?

Pledge to keep my pledge, speak

      only in the school I’m in? To learn one

phrase more, to sound as if I was born there

 

and not here among (oh, I’m saying it)

      the world of Vermont’s girosoles.

I’m not going to translate for you.

      You’ll have to look up for yourself,

as long as you, in the Portuguese School,

      don’t fall in love with someone

in Italian, (just to name two of these

Middlebury schools) which is almost

      impossible not to do. Who will want to bring

a vase of nodding sunflowers to your

 

dormitory room. And pretend he hasn’t

      signed his pledge. Which he’s bound

to keep, at least for eight weeks, if not

      for the rest of his life. When he’s thinking

of you sitting speechless in the dining hall,

 

waiting for love to find its word, thinking

      of the two of you, imagining

returning a hundred years from now

      to celebrate another century of speaking

in all the languages you could.

 

— Gary Margolis, Cornwall

 

Editor’s note: The author read this poem at the gala showcase celebration on Saturday in the chapel.

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