All Academia’s a Stage

Rafael de Acha
With thanks to William Shakespeare

All Academia’s a Stage
And all the Ph. D’s merely players:
They have their exits, if not tenured,
And one Prof in his time plays many parts,
His lectures being simply endless.
At first, the Freshman, mewling and puking in th’advisor’s arms,
And then the shining Sophomore,
With his backpack and sourpuss at 8 AM class,
Creeping like Snail, unwillingly to school.
And then the Junior, sighing like furnace,
With a woeful excuse to his teacher
As to why he missed the last ten sessions of the class.
And then the Senior, full of strange oaths,
Dependant on his Google, sudden and quick to blame,
Quick to plagiarize, bearded, perforated, tattoed,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even if it’s Finals time
And then the T.A.
Unfair with rounded belly,
(He needs to lose some weight)
With eyes that cross
From hours in the stacks,
Full of weird quotes and modern instances:
And so he plays his part.
The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and underpaid Adjunct Lecturer
With spectacles on nose and paunchy at the belt,
His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide
For his shrunk shank, and his lecturer’s voice,
Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
And whistles in his sound.
Last scene of all that ends this academia
Is th’ eternal tenure track,
Just like being back as Freshman:
Second childishness and mere oblivion,
Sans benefits, sans pension, sans insurance, sans everything.


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