Thursday, August 11, 2005

The Rime... Part V


Oh publication! it is a gentle thing,
Beloved from pole to pole !
To Gutenberg the praise be given!
He sent the gentle acceptance from Elsevier,
That sweetened my soul.

By the grace of the holy Printer, the ancient Researcher is refreshed with reprints.

The silly preprints on the desk,
That had so long remained,
I dreamt that they were printed:
When I awoke, the reprints arrived.

My hands were inky, my computer busy,
My speech was full of hints;
Sure I had distributed in my dreams,
And still I mailed my reprints.

I mailed, and could not feel the time :
I was so light-almost
I thought that I had died in sleep,
And was a blessed Doc.

She heareth sounds and seeth strange sights and commotions in the lab and the library.

And soon I heard a roaring sound :
It did not come anear ;
But with its sound it shook the drapers,
That were so thin and sere.

The upper storey burst into life !
And a hundred fire-flags sheen,
To and fro they were hurried about !
And to and fro, and in and out,
The library books danced in between.

And the coming wind did roar more loud,
And the drapers did sigh like sledge ;
And the reprints rained down from my mail box :
Table mine stacked with papers from edge to edge.

It was a Sunday, and still
The reprints kept coming :
Like monsoon rain,
Came non-stop the mail,
In quantities unbecoming.

The colleagues in the lab are inspired, and the research moves on;

The fundings did never increase,
Yet now the research moved on!
Beneath the publication sprees
My labmates worked without a groan.

Nor spake, nor they moved their eyes;
They worked, they wrote; all the time,
It had been strange, even in a dream,
To have seen thus, the labmates mine.

The advisor advised, the research moved on;
Yet never came a project new;
The colleagues all worked day and night,
Which never before did they do;
They worked in the lab like lifeless tools-
We were a ghastly crew.

The labbies mine, all
Stood by me, knee to knee ;
The labby and I shared the desk,
But she said nought to me.

But not by the grad students, nor by the post-docs and emeritus professors of the Department of Institute, but by a blessed troop of undergraduates, sent down by the invocation of the thesis adviser.

'I fear thee, ancient Researcher !'
Be calm, thou Post-Doc!
`Twas not those grad students that left in pain,
Which to their labs came again,
But a troop of undergrads best:

For when it dawned-they dropped their work,
And clustered round the coffee pot :
Sweet sounds rose slowly through their mouths,
And from their bodies passed.

Around, around, flew each sweet sound,
Then came in voice one:
Slowly the sounds came back again,
Now mixed, now one by one.

Sometimes a-dropping from nowhere
I heard the cuckoo sing ;
Sometimes all little birds that are,
How they seemed to fill the library and lab,
With their sweet jargoning.

And now 'twas like all instruments,
Now like a lonely flute ;
And now it is an MS song,
That makes the heavens be mute.

It ceased ; yet the lab work went on
A pleasant noise till noon,
A noise like of a hidden brook,
In the rainy month of June,
That to the sleeping woods all night
Singeth a quiet tune.

Till noon we quietly worked on,
Yet never a break did we get :
Slowly and smoothly went the work,
Moved onward from dawn to dusk.

The doctoral committee carries the thesis as far as colloquium, in obedience to the angelic professor, but still requireth vengeance

At the end of years nine,
From the doctoral committee,
Came the blow; and it was them
That stoppt the thesis mine.
The colloquium was done
But the work came undone.

They found holes, in theory
Experiments mine and analysis :
In a minute they tore apart
All the delicate arguments-
In a torrential flow
Came their counter-arguments.

Then like a pawing horse let go,
They made a sudden bound :
It flung the blood into my head,
And I fell down in a swound.

The Doctoral Committee's departmental colleagues, the invincible faculty of professors, take part in their wrong ; and two of them relate, one to the other, that penance long and heavy for the ancient Researcher hath been accorded by the Doctoral committee, whose members go on a Sabbatical.

How long in that same fit I lay,
I have not to declare ;
But ere my living life returned,
I heard and in my soul discerned
Two voices in the air.

`Is it she?' quoth one, 'Is this the girl?
In the name of laureates Nobel,
With her shrewd analysis she gave a blow
To the CiteClassic, great and noble.

The professors who bideth by themselves
In the textbooks and journals
They loved the paper that explained
But shot by her with her analysis.'

The other was a softer voice,
As soft as honey-dew :
Quoth she, 'The girl hath penance done,
And research more will do.'


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