December 7. 2000.

Today we discuss “symbols” and “myths.” I read

“The Second Coming” out loud,

like I do every year it seems;

and feel the students, Arab and Jew,

catch their breath and amplify private scenes

to Yeats’ terrible vision. Bethlehem

is so near, and from deep in the well

of our lecture hall we know,

no one this year will be sitting

under their vines and fig trees.

Tomorrow I will try to teach

how to create new symbols, new myths.