The Provost and The Governor

Apologies to Lewis Carroll (1832-1898)

The sun was shining on UA,
Shining with all his might;
He did his very best to make
The campus smooth and bright
And this was odd, because it was
The middle of the night.

The moon was shining sulkily, 
Because she thought the sun 
Had got no business to be there 
After the day was done -- 
"It's very rude of him," she said, 
"To come and spoil the fun!"

The eyes were red as red could be, 
The air was dry as dry. 
You could not see a cloud, because 
No cloud was in the sky; 
No birds were flying overhead -- 
There were no birds to fly.

The Provost and the Governor 
Were walking close past workers; 
They looked away from eyes 
Such quantities of staff -- 
They said, "It would be grand!"
"If they were only cut in half."

"If seventy voted with seventy votes
And swept three fiscal years, 
Do you suppose," the Provost said, 
"That we could get it clear?" 
"I think so," said the Governor, 
And grinned a bitter sneer.

"O Workers, come and walk with us!" 
The Provost said so merry. 
"A Pleasant walk, a pleasant talk, 
Along Speedway and Cherry; 
We cannot do with more than four, 
To give a hand to each."

The eldest Worker looked at her, 
But never a word he said; 
The eldest Worker winked his eye, 
A wan smile on his face -- 
Meaning to say he did not choose 
To leave his Worker-space.

But four young Workers hurried up, 
All eager for the treat; 
Their collars buttoned, faces young, 
Their shoes were clean and neat -- 
And this was odd, because, you know, 
So filthy was the street.

Four other Workers followed them, 
And yet another four; 
And thick and fast they came at last, 
And more, and more, and more -- 
All strolling down the busy street, 
And shuffling, crossed at Mountain.

The Provost and the Governor 
Walked on a block or so, 
And stopped at a dry fountain 
Which previously flowed -- 
And all the little Workers stood 
And waited by the road.

"The time has come," the Provost said, 
"To talk of many things: 
Of RIFs -- and cuts -- and furloughs -- 
Of spreadsheets -- and of charts -- 
And why the sky is burning hot -- 
And whether Deans have hearts."

"But wait a bit," the Workers cried, 
"Please tell us what you mean.. You're 
aware that some of us are young, 
but some of us are senior!" 
"No worry!" said the Governor. 
They thanked her much for that.

"A loaf of bread," the Provost said, 
"Is really all you need; 
And maybe milk and cereal
They're very good indeed -- 
Now, if you're ready, Workers dear, 
We can begin to feed."

"But not on us!" the Workers cried, 
Turning a little blue. 
"After such kindness, that would be 
A dismal thing to do!" 
"The night is fine," the Provost said. 
"Do you admire the view?"

"It was so kind of you to come! 
And you are very nice!" 
The Governor said nothing but, 
"Let's cut another slice. 
I wish you were not quite so deaf -- 
I've had to ask you twice!"

"It seems a shame," the Provost said, 
"To play them such a trick. 
After we've brought them out so far, 
And made them trot so quick!" 
The Governor said nothing but, 
"The budget's spread too thick!"

"I weep for you," the Provost said; 
"I deeply sympathize." 
With sobs and tears she sorted out 
Those of the largest brains, 
Holding her pocket-handkerchief 
Wiped clear the last remains.

"O Workers," said the Governor, 
"You've had a pleasant run! 
Shall we be trotting home again?" 
But answer came there none -- 
And this was scarcely odd, because 
They'd laid off every one.

This site copyright © 1999-2009 Eric Case

Comments