Thursday, August 31, 2006

Fig, Just One More Time


Well, he'll be returning to his home in Lower School in a few days. I'd sort of thought that after last week's flurry of activity, my little friend couldn't do much more to surprise me. And I'm sure it won't surprise you to find out I was wrong.
. . . .
I must start out by admitting to a couple of things. First, the "office mate" I'd referred to in my earlier post about Fig is actually the Head of School; I'm employed as his assistant. And second, I subscribe to an email publication designed to improve one's vocabulary. It hasn't been too effective in my case, but that's enough about that. This week the words have all been about poetry types, and you already know where I stand on poetry.
. . . .
Okay, back to Fig. Monday morning I came in and the dear little pet was sprawled out on his flat rock, not moving a muscle. He was a little bit dry. I was alarmed. I took the lid off his habitat and gave him a gentle nudge, thinking perhaps he'd had a big weekend and was sleeping in. No response. I tried again. Nothing. I tried to take his pulse, but failed miserably.
. . . .
With just days to go before returning to Lower School, it appeared he'd passed away on my watch. How inconsiderate could a newt be? (rhetorical question) My friend Polly stopped by and was nearly as aghast as I was, though knowing her as I do, I was surprised she didn't say something about Fig's "croaking." Moments later, her boss, Debbie, having heard the news of our loss, stopped by to offer condolences and then went off to begin the orientation of the new faculty.
. . . .
Polly returned. This is a woman who doesn't give up. She thought tilting the aquarium might be the thing to do. I disagreed. Polly tilted. Fig scrambled wildly! We rejoiced!
. . . .
An hour or two later Debbie returned, with 19 new employees in tow. "This is the Head of School's Office," she began, and then asked if I wanted all 20 of them to come in or if the Head and I would care to step out to greet them. I realized that she didn't know our good news yet, and as I stepped into the lobby exclaimed, "He's alive! He's not dead!" The new employees all perked up in astonishment as the Head of School, looking nothing at all like Lazarus, emerged.
. . . .
The vocabulary word that day was "monody," a poem in which the poet laments someone's death. I marveled at the coincidence and then was thankful I didn't need to practice it. Got to work on the millions of details that need attention before a school opens for the year and have spent most of the week resolving them. Then came today's vocabulary word, "palinode," a poem in which the poet recants a previous poem.
. . . .
What could I do? (another rhetorical question) With encouragement from Frank and apologies to you, I offer the following:
. . . .
Fig, on Monday Morning

The newt was lying awfully still
to live he seemed to have lost the will.

What an awful reflection on me as caretaker
that our salamander had met his maker.

The moments go by.
Something catches my eye.

What gives?
He lives.

2 comments:

Susan said...

LOL! I really enjoyed this post and the poem, Nancy. I'll miss the installments in the School Days of Fig Newt(on). But I'm sure you'll come up with something else equally entertaining.

Karrin Hurd said...

Loved the post and the poem Nancy. So glad that Fig was just "playing dead" and not for real. I got a real laugh out of your description of the visitors to the office ad your comment.