After Richard Jones.

Plato’s Academy mosaic — from the Villa of T. Siminius Stephanus in Pompeii

Then, it was easy to believe
the gentle world to be
sad. While rereading
for class, feeling
the old and scribbling
a few new remarks
in the margins
of thick anthologies, heavy
as brick—(denying Pope
his idiotic confidence
in the dumb licking
of a gamboling lamb;
seconding Ivan Ilyich
in all his too-late
second-guessings, the
light he could only see
at the bottom
of his suffocating sack;
or granting Beckett’s
every twisted take,
those mad clowns marooned
at the dead ends of their
imaginations)—I’d think
of my students,
strolling across campus
in their innocence
to my classroom,
where, for fifty minutes,
I’d rant and they’d maybe
consider the many things
that couldn’t make us happy.