Final Instructions (a celebratory poem)



Report to Chaparral Center half past

two pm promptly in seat eighty—

for ninety minutes keep order

guests to stay behind the rails.


Then line them all up nicely

alphabetically in hallways

aka overheated tunnels for

Graduate Candidates enrobed

in mortar boards, long gowns

awaiting the grand processional.


Keep them in order, so very calm—

Then line yourself up five minutes to

four with your faculty colleagues.


Music starts, processional proceeds

March primly, slowly in and stand

Stand in front of seat eighty.


Stand and stand and stand and

Stand as five-hundred-eighty-two

Seniors march in processional only

to stand themselves alphabetically

in front of their seats on twenty-one

rows, and there you continue standing—


For first an Invocation, then National

Anthem, before the welcome command

to finally be seated.  You do have

advance leave to sit when your knees

complain—though best not to do that

as the National Anthem is played.


Now sit quietly endure the ceremony

Ninety minutes until the recessional

Then stand and march primly out

keep walking, hang cap and gown

on the rack behind the curtain and

keep walking right out the large door.


Into the open of the massive parking

lot to trek to the car parked far away

ensuring a quick drive off away, away

from Chaparral Center for the last time.


You are now done with final instructions—

you are now fully, completely retired—

forty-five professional service years

concluded, two monthly pensions launched.


Congratulations!  Not for graduating as

you did that on four separate occasions;

No, congratulations for moving right on

to full retirement—enjoy the new days.





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