The Learning Dome

 •  Poetry.

The Learning Dome
By Michael Holachek
Inspired by Coleridge’s Kubla Khan

In Boston City did Barton Rogers
A stately learning-dome decree:
Where Mens et Manus began
Through knowledge measureless to man
Its name was MIT.
So twice one mile of fertile ground,
Were impassioned ideas, lost and found;
And there were scholars bright with nascent purpose,
Where theory and practice came to be;
And here were automata, made of circuits,
Enfolding endless equations for machinery.

But oh! that percolating doubt which clouded
Ephemeral efforts betwixt a pset’s pages!
A restless place! as busy and burdened
As e’er through moon-lit halls were haunted
By student searching for the answer key places!
And from this doubt, with ceaseless anxiety seething,
As if the brain in quick deep sprints were thinking,
A mighty solution momently was forced:
Amid whose clear conclusion burst
Intuition gushing up like a geyser,
Or crater erupting with rage and fire:
And in these final dancing thoughts,
Student many a wise lesson was taught.
Three months meandering with a mazy motion
From lecture to lab the barraged brain flew,
Then slowly reached the week of review,
And sank in fear to a frozen emotion;
For ’mid this tumult it heard from far
Professor voices forewarning finals!

An instructor with a chalk
In a lecture once I saw:
It was Doctor Lander
And on the board he wrote with candor,
Teaching of Mendelian inheritance, he would draw.
Could I revive within me
His excited voice yet enigmatic meaning?
To such a mark ‘twould lift me,
On the right evening,
I could take that test in peace.

That sunny dome! the dome of ice!
To all who stand below the labyrinth:
Keep weary, tired minds, but open eyes.
For he on passion hath fed,
And found the dome of Paradise.