The wind, one brilliant day, called
to my soul with an odor of jasmine.
“In return for the odor of my jasmine,
I’d like all the odor of your roses.”
“I have no roses; all the flowers
in my garden are dead.”
“Well then, I’ll take the withered petals
and the yellowed leaves and the waters of the fountain.”
The wind left. And I wept. And I said to myself:
“What have you done with the garden that was entrusted to you?”
~Antonio Machado “The Wind, One Brilliant Day” translated by Robert Bly
This garden bloomed with potential,
entrusted to me for 32 years:
the health and well-being of 16,000 students,
most thriving and flourishing,
some withering, their petals falling,
a few have been lost altogether.
As the winds of time sweep away
another group of graduates from my care,
to be blown to places unknown,
their beauty and fragrance gone from here.
I marvel at their growth,
but also weary weep for those who left too soon,
wondering if I failed to water them enough –
or is it I who am parched in this garden
with a thirst unceasing, my roots reaching deep
into drought-stricken soil,
ever so slowly drying out?
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