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"I Sing the College Electric" for Strong College’s Opening, October 1994


For the opening of Cornelia Strong College
Dr. Laurie White, President, 26 October 1994

I sing of the piano players, playing in the Junior Common Room, the jazz
   artists and Bach groupies,
And the pool sharks wielding the deadly cue, setting the rack,
And the tea drinkers and coffee drinkers sipping through the convivial
   Wednesday afternoons,
And the French soireeists speaking in the filigreed tongue — languidly,
And the Wavers, waving from the balconies like the royal riders in the
   glass coach,
And the Council Members planning, busy in the hive of the Committee Room —
   inventing Ways and Means, brewing up policies and parties,
And the posters of posters — advertising, proclaiming, inviting,
And the Singers, fueled by tea and the love of choruses, whose circle
   around the piano is unbroken,
And the librarians! oh yes! I sing of you who love quiet study and the
   exquisite heft of donated books,
And the book stampers, the demons of order, whose toil through the long
   afternoons helps make the library,
Oh, and the book readers, huddling near the churning machines, breathing
   the clean smell of detergent, the rich scent of history, the sharp tang
   of Physics and Psychology,
And the literary club reciters — you so dear to my heart — who say in
   their own sweet voices the beautiful words,
And the Movie Watchers and the Snack Buyers! Oh glorious movie night, with
   the story gleaming in the dim room, steeped in the salty aroma of popcorn!
   of Doritos!
And the listeners, who listen in the dark night to the thoughts of roommates
   and floormates and friends, whose sympathy is the mortar of our College,
And the talkers, who stop to spin their tales and tell us jokes and who know
   that at the center of every civilization are stories,
And the Star Trekkers — you on whom, especially, Cornelia Strong must smile,
And the diners in our special place in the Caf, the sun motes streaming
   through the windows as you discuss all things and spear the heavy dumplings,
And the computer hackers, surfing the great net with such boldness and speed,
And all of you, all who have built this shining College — not the kind-hearted
   Fellows of the Senior Common Room, the well-wishing administrators and
   Directors — no, not even the President — but you the students in Cornelia
   Strong College who have dreamed a community and brought it forth,
You, I sing.

© Robert J. O’Hara 2000–2021