Now dried tobacco leaves, these professors,
whose intellectual travails have scoured them skinny,
are engaged in the Spring ritual on the back lawn at Trinity.
Stripped naked, buttocks slung low over the crew-cut grass,
hands beating mortar boards; they sway on their haunches,
loosening the centuries' compaction of soil grains.
Some say they are whipping up the aurae of their forebears,
others that they are resonating with the pain of earthworms
as they shift, right to left, on the balls of their feet.
At the center, standing on a box, a physics-doctor
with plumb-line hanging from between forefinger and thumb
is demonstrating down.
I have watched them for an age, seen their growth rings
appearing like water-marks, the knowledge in their face-pouches
guarded like genitalia in a bag.