Ode To the Beasts of Maxwell Hall

Hearth is the heart, 
     warmth,
     fire,
     raging and tranquil.
Gathering us together,
     we warm ourselves by its flame.

Suckling bosom of knowledge, 
     a hall of words,
     books and catalog cards.
Legal debates pulling reason in opposite directions,
     but never too far from the center
     of cold limestone turned warm
     by wood of surrounding land.

The dragon leads the menagerie,
     two heads with sight of towers
     where grotesques and serpents
     keep watchful eye
     on all who enter.

Serpents taking flight at night,
     playing in darkness
     as they slither from transom to transom,
     never touching the floors of men.

Grotesques howling and flapping their wings
     as though in discussion,
     as though in defense of the shield they bear
     for love of building,
     and craft,
     and university.

Yet the dragon is the seer,
     the knower,
     the one with thought and knowledge
     too powerful to expose.

Does he envy the others’ views of the hills?
Or does he find solace in hearing the whispers,
     the secrets, 
     the plans of women who now grace
     his throne with beauty?

Art now conquers the cold limestone,
     while humanities compete with the science of masons.
But with transcendent words
     our beloved beast changes, 
     studies,
     creates.

Words devoured by the dragon, 
     it feeds on new dreams,
     new hearts, 
     new love for its majestic survival.

As I leave this place, 
     these grounds,
     this building.
I whisper to the protectors
     my gratitude,
     my respect.

I tell them of my jealous heart
     that cannot grasp the treasures
     only they consume.