Not long after I arrived here at El Cid, one of our senior faculty members retired. There was not, I don’t think, a cause-and-effect relationship between the two events. There was, however, cause for cheering the retiring professor, and I chose to do so by rewriting the famed lines of Clement Clarke Moore’s 1822 poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas,” more widely known as “Twas the night before Christmas.” My version — “Twas the First Day of Classes” — was a rousing success, and I’ve since been asked to compose more rewritings for special occasions.
Thus, today, I’m working on a revision of “The Major-General’s Song,” from Gilbert and Sullivan’s Pirates of Penzance. The work is scheduled for delivery tonight — no time like the last minute, eh? — and I still can’t find the right rhyme for “contempor’ies.” I suspect my head is still elsewhere.