wars and poetry
both seem to originate
from a common source
I was a student among other students in a classroom in Dallas, Texas. When I suddenly heard that the students were going to take a test, I tapped on the shoulder of Mary Biester (a Dallas attorney) who was sitting right in front of me, and I tried to find out what kind of test it was going to be. Apparently it was a word test.
It was a Monday and since I had not attended class on Friday, I had not expected the test. Some students were prepared, but I was completely taken by surprise.
We only had a few minutes to study for the test. Since Mary had her book open, I asked her if I could see it. When I placed my head on her shoulder, I could feel her face next to mine. I moved around, sat next to her, and asked her about a stomach problem which she had; apparently it was not that bad.
For the test, each student was going to have to stand and sing a song. We were given a bit more time to work on our songs.
The seats in the room were in rows which ran across the room. I rose and moved into the chair at the far right side of the front row. The teacher (who reminded me somewhat of Angus McSwain, one of my law professors when I was in law school), told us to prepare to sing our songs. McSwain was going to begin with the person on the left end of the front row.
The singing began and one woman sang what appeared to be an Italian song. As the teacher proceeded down the row toward me, I tried to think of what I was going to sing. Finally I knew I wanted to sing a song by Bob Dylan and I began writing the first lines, "Poets and prophets throughout the land."
Although I could not remember the order of the rest of the lyrics, I wrote several lines, one of which was, "Take your stand now, the chance won't come again."
Another line said, "The order is rapidly changing."
But I could not seem to fit the lines together - I simply was not prepared. However, even though I did not know how I was going to sing the song, I did at least know that the first line was "Poets and prophets throughout the land." That was the line that impressed me the most as having something beautiful about it.
I thought the second line might be, "Come sing your song well, the chance won't come again."
Another line might be, "Admit that the waters around you have grown."
I thought my ex-wife Louise was somewhere in the classroom. I wanted to sing correctly because I rather wanted to make a good impression on her. I thought my voice would be in good form; it was just a matter of getting the words right.
I began looking for a rifle which I had had with me earlier and which I had set down in front of me. When I was unable to find the rifle, I asked, "Where's my gun?"
I stood and began looking around for it.
When I saw some people standing along the side of the room, I decided to go stand with them. I thought perhaps the teacher would pass me by; then I could work on my lines more and sing a bit later.
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