I wasn't there on 9/11

and didn't see the people jumping,

but I am reassured to hear

from Denise, age 5,

who was at school across the street,

that the jumpers floated down slowly, gently,

suspended from brightly colored parachutes.

Thus the world is not as horrible as I feared,

and soon the towers will be rebuilt

strong enough to last forever

so that when Denise grows up

planes will just bounce off them,

and the bad people will know we are all good

and will try to be just like us.

I have a friend who vainly claims

that he himself is William James.

Now frankly, if the truth be told,

that fact would make him very old.

Two things about him that are weird:

He really does have James' big beard,

and views our cruel world through the lens

of multiple entheogens.

He lives in Cambridge, as did James,

and from his high horse bluntly blames

the sad state of psychology

on lesser beings such as me

because I, beardless, prefer malls

to academia's hallowed halls.

Want to see a far out movie,

an esoteric film that’s groovy?

He’s the man who’ll turn you on

to cinema that’s long bygone.

Saybrook students count on him

when their hopes are growing dim.

If your spirits have grown slack

see the man all dressed in black.

He also plays a mean guitar,

and for those of you who are

interested in fine art,

he creates it from his heart.

He’s our super-dooper trooper—

He’s our own beloved Cooper!

As Dean he really knows his stuff—

He doesn’t con, he doesn’t bluff,

he is not mean, nor is he gruff,

but can be tender and be tough,

and when the going gets real rough

he doesn’t merely huff and puff,

or shower us with flack and fluff,

or let our sails go slack and luff—

Of virtues he’s got quite enough,

so let’s all hail the great Bill Bruff!

Bravely gather we to plan

Saybrook's future if we can.

Trust your sixth sense, drop your guards,

bring crystal balls and Tarot cards,

divining rods and sheep entrails,

and ESP that never fails.

Our minds are clear, our motives pure--

Saybrook's success we can assure.

What Is This Saybrook All About?

Writing that's obtuse and vague

fulminates a dreadful plague.

Reading it is too much work—

teachers often go berserk.

Students have been crucified

when their prose is ossified.

Spare your readers brain meltdowns—

wisely choose your verbs and nouns.

Dense and convoluted prose

only makes us bellicose.

Just delete the fancy fluff—

simple syntax is enough.

Please indulge our urgent need—

write us prose that we can read.

Faculty Memo

My Self-Review

Authentic persons everywhere,

Be empathetic, show you care,

Transcend your existential guilt,

Don't let your will to meaning wilt,

Turn off TV, forsake the mall,

Come honor our Jim Bugental.

Though he has been here eight decades

His brilliance never dims or fades.

It's he who guides us straight and true,

Who sees the soul in each of you.

But who's behind those books of his?

It's not some wizard, no—it's Liz!

So let us cheer and celebrate

These lovebirds whom we think are great.


December 1995

Bad Bard

ROLLO MAY

1909-1994


No need for us to feel downhearted

because our Rollo has departed.

The searching artist now can rest

in the fulfillment of his quest.

As he ascends, we can rejoice

that he is soothed by Beauty's voice.

Transcending our poor earthly grief,

let us imagine God's relief

to have in heaven such a man

to help him thwart the Devil's plan.

Dear Rollo now is God's resource

for channeling daimonic force

to aid us sinners left behind,

as Huxley urged, to be more kind.


Read at Rollo’s memorial service at Grace Cathedral, October 29, 1994.

Request to Students

Saybrook Planning Conference

A Russian friend gave Rollo the nickname "Rollushka."


There she sits so old and sad--

Have pity on the poor babushka.

Life is grim in Petrograd,

but she is cheered by our Rollushka


He redeems her Slavic gloom,

and gives her existential meaning,

brightens up her dreary room,

and offers her a karmic cleaning.


Russian nights are cold and grim,

and Russian hearts are plagued with malice,

so she turns her soul toward him--

Rollushka always gives her solace.


When she pines and cries for myth

dear Rollo writes a book about it.

Thus his words provide her with

a faith so strong she'll never doubt it.


Stalin's gone, Krushchev is dead,

and Lenin failed our poor babushka.

Whom should she revere instead?

Let's crown as Czar the great Rollushka!

Don Cooper

There is a virus in the sky

blowing around the world in dark clouds

filling our mouths, ears, eyes, lungs,

our already damaged brains.

Our species coughs and wheezes,

and we can barely help each other.

The immunization shots

provided by religions

didn't work, or made us sicker.

Faith healers abound, and nostrums.

Mars looks down at us

amused.

Did evolution fail,

or is this just the bad start

of a new century,

merely a readjustment,

a fever that will break,

from which we will emerge

convalescent, wiser,

and perhaps even

loving?

William James?

To the Dean:

    In the service of brevity

    and preserving my sanity

    I'm sending to you

    this succinct self-review.


Here's my attempt at honest self-review:

My virtues are immense, my faults are few.

To list my wonderful accomplishments

would generate great piles of documents

and over-shadow lesser colleagues' deeds,

so why indulge my narcissistic needs?

Thus modestly for now I'll simply state

my contributions once again were great.

Because of me the world's a better place—

I'm helping Saybrook save the human race.

Postscript:


But if as Dean you sternly still insist

that I from wretched doggerel desist

just say the word, and I won't question why,

and with more facts will cravenly reply.

The faculty of this famed institute

now finds itself engaged in much dispute

about the proper way to run the place,

and how to do it with some sense of grace.


There are so many groups we try to please--

ourselves, the students, WASC and the trustees--

and thus, to teach psychology it seems

we must resort to rather drastic means.


The outcome of this strife is still unclear,

and this creates an anxious atmosphere,

so while we struggle with unwelcome stress

I thought perhaps it's time that I confess--


My mind is hardly fit for such discourse

and jumps about much like a skittish horse.

Just when my colleagues need me to be sane,

I write these lines that really are inane.


But if my poem lightens up our mood

and makes us somewhat less inclined to brood,

then I will feel that I have done my part

to demonstrate the value of bad art.

Read at Rollo’s 85th birthday party, April 1994.


A few years back we joined to say,

"Hooray, Hooray for Rollo May,"

but there's a fact we can't deny:

Our tempus fugit, and goes by.

Once more his birthday's come around,

so let's all try to be profound.

Our Rollo's really come of age--

This kid's become a grown up sage!

In spite of Angst he's learned to thrive

and reached the age of 85.

He wrote some books and tried to paint,

but sad to say he is no saint.

I'll skip the details of his sins--

It isn't how one's life begins

in dark daimonic storms and strife,

but how one lives the rest of life.

When he was young he broke some rule

and got himself thrown out of school.

Soon he reformed, earned a degree,

and thought he'd try the ministry.

They made him pastor of a church,

but he had just begun his search,

and though he had a family,

decided he'd prefer TB.

This holiday helped him to see

the meaning of anxiety,

and thus he turned a dread disease

into a source of royalties.

Eventually he wandered west,

and so it is that we are blessed.

His scribbling culminated with

a treatise on the cry for myth.

Let's celebrate Paul Tillich's heir

who wrote his way out of despair.

Salute Dasein's distinguished don--

All hail the Sage of Tiburon!

Read at the Saybrook National Meeting, January 1985.


Back in '58 I bought

a book on existential thought.

Little did I know, of course,

that this fine book would be the source

of this occasion here today

at which we honor Rollo May.


Those of us who raptly follow

words and thoughts from our friend Rollo

know he has a vast potential

to cure our crises existential.

If your temperament's distonic

he'll turn you on to the daimonic.

If you've got a void to fill

he'll strengthen both your love and will.

Depressed about the slim results

you've gotten when you've joined those cults?

Here's the man who'll guarantee

there's meaning in anxiety.

If your mood is turning dour

it's innocence you need, and power.

He's got a book about those too--

he's really written quite a few.

A shrink who reads and quotes Lord Byron,

who knows how to escape a siren,

the Lapps all loudly sing his praise

for ridding Lapland of malaise.

In Russian, where he's read a lot,

they publish him in Samizdat.


His home is perched above the bay,

half way to heaven, some would say.

And yet, of course, he's not a saint,

flawed as he is by just one taint--

Clandestinely, when no one looks,

he plagiarizes from my books.

But if you find that life's a bummer,

let this man be your distant drummer.

Here's to this scholar distingue,

here's to our mentor, Rollo May.

Music: F. J. Morton. Lyrics: Tom Greening.

Adapted from "Buddy Bolden’s Blues"

by F. J. Morton (Edwin H. Morris & Co., ASCAP).


I thought I heard Buddy Bolden shout

What is this Saybrook all about?

What is this Saybrook all about?

I thought I heard him shout.

I thought I heard William James shout

Transcend yourself and trip far out,

Transcend yourself and trip far out,

I thought I heard James shout.

I thought I heard Harry Murray shout

The study of lives you must not flout,

The study of lives you must not flout,

I thought I heard him shout.

I thought I heard Charlotte Bühler shout

Pursue your values, help them sprout,

Pursue your values, help them sprout,

I thought I heard her shout.

I thought I heard Abe Maslow shout

Put behaviorists on the rout,

Put behaviorists on the rout,

I thought I heard Abe shout.

I thought I heard Laura Perls shout

You must embrace the whole Gestalt,

You must embrace the whole Gestalt,

I thought I heard her shout.

I thought I heard Ida Rolf shout

Bodywork must have more clout,

Bodywork must have more clout,

I thought I heard her shout.

I thought I heard Carl Rogers shout

Your clients are persons, there's no doubt,

Your clients are persons, there's no doubt,

I thought I heard Carl shout.

I thought I heard Virginia Satir shout

Help families celebrate, not pout,

Help families celebrate, not pout,

I thought I heard her shout.

I thought I heard Jim Bugental shout

Let your authenticity out,

Let your authenticity out,

I thought I heard Jim shout.

I thought I heard Rollo May shout

Love and will are where it's at,

Love and will are where it's at,

I thought I heard him shout.

I thought I heard all the students shout

That’s what this Saybrook's all about,

That’s what this Saybrook's all about,

I thought I heard them shout.

Poetry About Saybrook

(placeholder)

SAYBROOK SONG

Attached are the lyrics to a song first sung at the closing session of the June 1995 Saybrook Residential Conference, plus verses I subsequently added with Stan Krippner's help about Charlotte Bühler, Laura Perls, Ida Rolf and Virginia Satir so as to include some women. The revised version has been sung at subsequent dinners after graduation.


I want to thank Saybrook student Frank Christmas for insisting that I try to fit the words to the beats, and for playing the mellow piano accompaniment at conferences. Frank died in 2003, and I think of the song as a sort of tribute to him. I also thank Sandy Smith for singing the song so beautifully and leading the singing.


Some of you may wish to write additional lyrics expressing your thoughts on "What Is This Saybrook All About?" for singing at future conferences. Perhaps I can help you fit your words to the song. The music is Jelly Roll Morton's "Buddy Bolden's Blues." This is a famous old blues that appears on many records. I recommend the version by Little Brother Montgomery on track #11 of a compact disk called "Rare Chicago Blues, 1962-1968," Bullseye Blues CD BB 9530, made by Rounder Records Corp., One Camp Street, Cambridge, MA 02140. The sheet music is out of print, but I can send you a photocopy if you wish.


What is this Saybrook all about? Well, along with many other things, maybe it is about making music together.


Tom Greening

POEMS ABOUT SAYBROOK AND ITS PEOPLE

This is a collection of poems about Saybrook and some of the people, past and present, who make it what it is. Some of the poems are serious and some are humorous.

Poems for Rollo May

Tom Greening


As an undergraduate I couldn't decide between majoring in psychology and literature, so I created a program for myself with a muddled combination of the two. One year I learned about existentialism in a course on French novels, and about psychology in a course on rats. In graduate school I found it prudent to remain a closet existentialist. I wish I'd known then that Rollo May and others were in the process of creating a psychology about people integrating existentialism.


The year I got my Ph.D., 1958, Rollo published Existence: A New Dimension in Psychiatry and Psychology. Jim Bugental and Al Lasko, whom I had joined in their group practice, thought this was an important book. At last it was safe for me to "come out." No longer did I have to slink around bars searching for furtive existentialist conversations with strangers. I could be a psychologist and an existentialist. I could openly display my Camus and Sartre books in my office. I even published existentially oriented articles under my real name. To express my gratitude, I wrote this tribute:


A remarkable fellow named Rollo,

When told that existence is hollow,

Said, "There's nothing amiss,

We can fill the abyss,"

And gave us directions to follow.

A fest, a bash, a gala orgy

to honor Amedeo Giorgi!

He has decided he must wean

us from demanding he be Dean.

We'll struggle on without our Andy

while he departs just fine and dandy.

He's leaving us while still alive,

but will poor Saybrook this survive?

True, he's arranged a substitute,

a colleague wise and quite astute,

but who could take Dean Giorgi's place

with equal wisdom, tact and grace,

and help us overcome our loss?

Our future Dean? It's Medard Boss!

A "get well" verse from Tom to Zonya:

I thought at first that I would phone ya,

or maybe send you a begonia.

It's been two years that I have known ya—

at least, I thought, I ought to loan ya

some help in case they try to stone ya.

Those doctors act just like they own ya—

watch out or else they'll try to clone ya....

Please get well soon, because the strain

of writing like this hurts my brain.

My colleagues think that it's pathetic

and caused by too much anesthetic.

So get well soon, then rescue me—

it's I who need your sympathy.

To Zonya

Do not bite the hand that feeds you.

Wait until he really needs you.

That's the time to vent your spite,

time for your ungrateful bite.

Now when he is being kind

hide from him what's on your mind.

Store it up until the day

he needs you in some dire way.

Then attack with jagged fangs

free of any guilty pangs.

Anyone who's dumb enough

to give us love and mushy stuff

merits unrepentant hate

and brings upon themselves this fate.

Advice for Zonya

Well, some of you believe that Stan

is usually an honest man,

and sure, you've heard his sad refrain

about his accident in Spain.

The trouble is, it's just a myth,

a tale that he's embellished with

some lurid details so that we

will feel for him more sympathy.

The truth behind this tale of woe

is something else, as I will show.

I've learned from sources in Madrid

that this is what our Stanley did:

One afternoon he got too full

of booze and tried to fight a bull.

The bull fought back, as bulls will do,

and Stanley did not have a clue

for how to dodge, and so he ran.

The bull went roaring after Stan,

who shrewdly climbed a nearby tree

and tried to use psychology.

He said, "I'm not you enemy;

how would you like a Ph.D.?

I am a man of high repute

and teach at Saybrook Institute.

You seem to be a brilliant bull--

I'll find a way to use my pull

to get you in, so you can be

a bull with an advanced degree."

At this the bull knocked down the tree

and said, "You keep psychology--

I'd rather poke my horns in you."

The next thing that our Stanley knew

he woke up sore and badly bruised,

and really not at all amused.

Embarrassed to admit the truth

(a failing that he's had since youth),

he claimed that as he jogged through town

an errant car had knocked him down.

This story helps poor Stan save face

and shield his ego from disgrace.

Let's humor him and act as though

the part about the bull ain't so.

Don't discard those opiates--

A drugged out haze well obviates

the harshness of reality,

the facts of life's banality.

Your broken leg's a great excuse

to cultivate your drug abuse,

a most acceptable pretext

to dodge what challenges are next.

You didn't break your leg for fun,

but why not honor what's been done?

Instead of suffering your fate

gulp morphine 'til you're feeling great.

More Advice for Zonya

Let's honor and applaud brave Stan,

this brilliant and heroic man

who once again has fallen prey

to evil forces sent his way.

A spider managed to outwit him,

and savagely and slyly bit him.

How'd Stan respond to this attack?

Our hero bit the spider back!

She shines with such a glorious luster—

Who is this lass, and can we trust her?

She's robbed no banks like Clyde's girl Bonnie,

Nor is she Nancy nagging Ronnie.

I'm glad that she's not Typhoid Mary,

Because I'd find that much too scary,

And clearly she's not Mata Hara,

With soul submerged in crass samsara.

She's never been assigned a warden

For acting out like Lizzie Borden,

And certainly we can't suppose

She broadcast lies like Tokyo Rose,

Nor is she like Lucretia Borgia—

Instead, thank God, she's our dear Georgia.


February 1997

For Georgia May

When Saybrook floundered, veered and yawed,

And felt abandoned by its Gawd,

Who held the fort sometimes alone?

Our valiant chief, The Great Melone!

A garlic connoisseur and chef,

A mentor, coach, umpire and ref,

He walked on water, showed the way,

He worked all night and saved the day,

He kept us going through tough years,

So all hail Rudy--thanks and cheers.

We are going to miss you, Gerry,

miss your moods, morose and merry,

your bombast and your winsome blarney,

for you could charm us like a carney.

Your Irish temper flared at times,

(I fear you'd shudder at these rhymes)

and though sometimes you had us scared,

still through it all we knew you cared.

You guided us, you gave us vision,

and launched a prayer with each decision,

and when we faltered, thwarting you,

thank God you'd only briefly stew

and grumble for a little while

before you'd bless us with a smile.

Your stay at Saybrook was too brief—

Your early death is like a thief,

a vengeful raven, not a dove,

who's stolen you from those you love.

But you're in heaven, making merry—

We already miss you, Gerry.


July 1999

For Gerry Bush

The multitudes from near and far

have come to crown him, make him czar,

and he deserves each hymn of praise

for he’s the one who lights our days.

He consorts with the Club of Rome,

his name is known from Nice to Nome,

and if you want to plan and learn

this Don’s the one who can discern

the path to take from here to there,

and who is who, and where is where.

With Zen-like wisdom and keen mind

he wakes us up and helps us find

the stories that will set us free

and save us from inanity.

A sage we can depend upon—

all hail and praise omniscient Don!

Saybrook awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree to Huston Smith.


Hurray and cheers for Huston Smith!

Praise him, fête him, laud him with

yet another high degree,

a party, words, and gaiety.

He helps expand realities

and guides us to the deities.

He understands our holy yens,

and why we use entheogens.

To muddled dark he brings new light,

thus Saybrook honors him tonight!

Assemblyman John Vasconcellos

is dedicated, wise and zealous.

It's clear that he was heaven-sent

to help improve our government.

He's one of those impressive guys

who's both compassionate and wise.

He learned to work within the rules

to upgrade California's schools,

and then somehow he found the time

to look into the roots of crime.

On top of that he had a dream

of ways to raise kids' self-esteem.

His methods are both humanistic

and eminently realistic.

How can we let our John retire,

just when our straits are extra dire?

You've worked to make the world more just

and launched a "Politics of Trust."

We've so much come  cotount on you—

left on our own what will we do?

Still, you have earned the right to rest,

thus will your coming years be blessed.

May you in Maui blithely dwell;

we'll let you go and wish you well.

A Tribute to John Vasconcellos

Poetic comments on student papers:


Not many graduate school professors provide comments on students' papers in the form of rhymed poems. This is certainly not a service I planned to offer when I joined the Saybrook faculty. However, I was reading a paper by Saybrook student Meredith Marsh that must have triggered something in my unstable brain. She acknowledged the high odds that human's misdirected creativity may lead to the annihilation of life on this planet, but did not feel pessimistic enough to "pine for days of yore." At that point I wrote the following poem:


Don't let nostalgia fixate you,

Don't pine too much for days of yore.

It may be sad, but still it's true--

Those bygone times were full of gore.

We're better off in modern times

With science sanely at our side.

We perpetrate more tidy crimes

And hygienic homicide.

A student described a psychotherapy client who had a long history of medical and psychological problems and failed treatments. She approached him with an open mind to see "...whether a close, understanding relationship could make him more at home in the world."


So I launched into the this verse:


As I perused the gloomy paper trail

that marked this patient's lengthy fall from grace

I realized that I would also fail

and write him off as just a hopeless case,

unless I sprung us both out of our trap

and met him in a place we'd never been.

But for this pathless journey there's no map,

and just a rusty gyroscope within.

We wandered in and out the prison gate

and passed each other in the dark unheard,

then met at last before it was too late

and found we did not need to say a word.

In searching for a better way to care

without a ray of hope or guiding star,

the only way to get from here to there

is learning how to be the place we are.

Assemblyman John Vasconcellos

is dedicated, wise and zealous.

It's clear that he was heaven-sent

to help improve our government.

He's one of those impressive guys

who's both compassionate and wise.

He learned to work within the rules

to upgrade California's schools,

and then somehow he found the time

to look into the roots of crime.

On top of that he had a dream

of ways to raise kids' self-esteem.

His methods are both humanistic

and eminently realistic.

How can we let our John retire,

just when our straits are extra dire?

You've worked to make the world more just

and launched a "Politics of Trust."

We've so much come  cotount on you—

left on our own what will we do?

Still, you have earned the right to rest,

thus will your coming years be blessed.

May you in Maui blithely dwell;

we'll let you go and wish you well.

Who Is Painting?

Here are three poems for Sabrina Zirkel, on the occasions of her marriage to Chris and the births of their two children:


Congratulations to Sabrina

That Turner gal by name of Tina,

the soulful singer known as Lena,

in Italy the gorgeous Gina--

None can compare with our Sabrina.

Let's celebrate, let's all take pride

in Saybrook's lovely blushing bride.

Her marriage on her month's vacation

is cause for heartfelt celebration!

Bob Flax was slow in responding to my request that he review an article submitted to the Journal of Humanistic Psychology. He wrote to me:


"I am totally guilt-ridden about this. I hope to review the notes I made and have something off to you within the next few days.

Bob (groveling for forgiveness!)"


Huddled there in your gross hovel,

I hope that you will duly grovel,

beg and plead and piteously pray

for me to take your guilt away.

But your sad cries all go unheard,

your hopes for freedom are absurd.

Write the review, and then we'll see

if there's a chance for clemency.

To Bob Flax

Here are three poems for Sabrina Zirkel, on the occasions of her marriage to Chris and the births of their two children:


Congratulations to Sabrina

That Turner gal by name of Tina,

the soulful singer known as Lena,

in Italy the gorgeous Gina--

None can compare with our Sabrina.

Let's celebrate, let's all take pride

in Saybrook's lovely blushing bride.

Her marriage on her month's vacation

is cause for heartfelt celebration!

What has made Maureen so miffed she

now resorts to turning fifty?

Was it not enough attention

for the ways she flaunts convention?

She's adept at deconstruction,

blatant and demur seduction,

obtuse and astute critiques,

empathy with kooks and freaks,

serving causes feminist

with a charm we can't resist.

Maybe she has felt neglected

'cause we haven't genuflected

quite enough to show respect--

Let's atone for this neglect!

There is none who can surpass

such a brilliant, regal lass.

I propose we crown Maureen--

make her California's Queen!

For Maureen

Here's a poem, short and silly,

honoring the birth of Lily.

Life unfolds quite willy-nilly

with plateaus, but often hilly.

As she gets her act together.

may she climb in sunny weather.

May she charm her older brother

and her father and her mother.

Will she join the ranks of scholars

scribbling away for dollars,

or become a movie star

cast in roles that are bizarre?

To such questions I say "maybe."

Let's just let her be a baby.

For Hallie

Trust our valiant, loyal Hallie

to harness the dark might of Kali.

She tames the vagrant imps and elves,

and saves us from our very selves.

She cheers us up when we are blue—

Our thanks to you for all you do!


I had a crisis, had a fit

when I learned you plan to quit.

Few minds there are quite so perverse

as to applaud my clumsy verse.

Life for bad poets is quite scary—

we fret and whimper, always wary.

We count on people like you, Hallie,

to help us pick up pen and rally.

If you're not there, I'll soon be mute,

no longer daring to write cute.

The academic life is harsh—

sometimes it seems like just a farsh.

So if you leave us, we'll recall

the many times you cheered us all.

For Lily

Lava when it's hot is molten,

But it quickly cools back down.

How about this baby Colton?

He's the hottest kid in town!


He's the pride of San Francisco--

Broadcast it on radio,

Spread the word to every disco,

Put him on a TV show!


Cynthia and Dennis Jaffe

Ought to get a prize for this--

When young Colton drives them daffy,

They think it's parental bliss!

Let’s give three cheers and take our hats off

to celebrate with David Lukoff.

We all think it’s really nifty

that at last you’re turning fifty.

We know you’re very spiritual

and live on planes quite virtual.

Aikido’s taught you how to go

just like the river with the flow,

but we don’t think that you’re all wet—

you’ve got some good years in you yet!

So here’s a toast and all the best,

and blessings on your mythic quest.

For David Lukoff

I must admit I stand in awe

of you who will submit your jaw

to surgeon's skill to be repaired,

while I, who must admit I'm scared

to let the dentist clean my teeth,

and breath a sigh of great relief

when told I have no cavities,

attempt to hide in levities

from any sort of mortal pain

and frantically attempt to feign

embodiment without a flaw

while clenching tight my fragile jaw.

The roots of Saybrook are obscure,

but I'll say this, they're less than pure.

Some claim it is a commie front,

or else a sick, misguided stunt.

Perhaps it is a mafia plot,

a symptom of postmodern rot,

a travesty of Western thought,

a place from which degrees are bought,

a sinkhole of obscure research,

a den from which wild theories lurch,

a wily plagiarist's delight,

a sordid source of mental blight.

I've read some dissertations there

and found they gave me quite a scare.

The human race is in a fix

and all the evidence predicts

that scholarship is on the wane

and Saybrook is just one more bane.

But don't despair, we shall rebound,

we'll turn this sorry place around.

In spite of all the evidence

I'm drunk with manic confidence

that somehow we can still succeed

and meet the future's urgent need

to put an end to war and greed

and all the starving masses feed.

We'll valiantly this madness stop

and Saybrook will emerge on top.

Welcome to Tarafina Marie

The roots of Saybrook are obscure,

but I'll say this, they're less than pure.

Some claim it is a commie front,

or else a sick, misguided stunt.

Perhaps it is a mafia plot,

a symptom of postmodern rot,

a travesty of Western thought,

a place from which degrees are bought,

a sinkhole of obscure research,

a den from which wild theories lurch,

a wily plagiarist's delight,

a sordid source of mental blight.

I've read some dissertations there

and found they gave me quite a scare.

The human race is in a fix

and all the evidence predicts

that scholarship is on the wane

and Saybrook is just one more bane.

But don't despair, we shall rebound,

we'll turn this sorry place around.

In spite of all the evidence

I'm drunk with manic confidence

that somehow we can still succeed

and meet the future's urgent need

to put an end to war and greed

and all the starving masses feed.

We'll valiantly this madness stop

and Saybrook will emerge on top.

Tinker, Taylor, soldier, spy—

whom can we count on to decry

the foibles of psychology?

There's no one does it quite like he.

We look to our astute Eugene

to root out thinking that's obscene

and ways of being Pleistocene

that our true nature so demean,

that portray humans as machines

and denigrate what real life means.

He champions old Willyum James

and holds us to our higher aims.

Whenever I am prone to be morose

and all my colleagues diagnose

as hopelessly reductionistic

and with bad theories quite sadistic,

our brave Eugene takes on our foes

with rhetoric and deathless prose.

Ode to Eugene Taylor

Let's keep this just twixt me and you–

I dread my faculty review.

Through yet another year I've fumbled,

too many weighty tasks I've bumbled.

My peers all tried to be supportive,

but my best efforts were abortive.

I waste my time in writing drivel,

when criticized I whine and snivel.

I quickly get on the defensive

and make remarks that are offensive.

Diversity eludes my brain

and tolerance I find a strain.

When talk with colleagues gets too deep

I cannot help but fall asleep.

I've tried to remedy these flaws

but constantly more self-doubt gnaws

away at what was once my pride

and I just want to flee and hide.

To keep my tattered record clean

I guess I'll have to bribe the Dean.

Trust our valiant, loyal Hallie

to harness the dark might of Kali.

She tames the vagrant imps and elves,

and saves us from our very selves.

She cheers us up when we are blue—

Our thanks to you for all you do!


I had a crisis, had a fit

when I learned you plan to quit.

Few minds there are quite so perverse

as to applaud my clumsy verse.

Life for bad poets is quite scary—

we fret and whimper, always wary.

We count on people like you, Hallie,

to help us pick up pen and rally.

If you're not there, I'll soon be mute,

no longer daring to write cute.

The academic life is harsh—

sometimes it seems like just a farsh.

So if you leave us, we'll recall

the many times you cheered us all.

For Hallie

Let’s all praise Deanna Large—

she’s the one who’s been in charge.

Saybrook needs a saint to run it,

but somehow Deanna’s done it.

When she’s gone what shall we do?

We’ll just grumble, fret and stew,

thrash about in dark despair,

lose our wits and tear our hair.

Calm Pacific will be stressed,

all of us will be depressed,

faculty will have it bad,

staff and students will go mad.

Please, oh please, you cannot leave us

Try for now just to deceive us.

Promise us you’ll soon return.

Tell us we can somehow earn

your undying loyalty,

then go, but temporarily.

For Paen to Deanna

"If I ever get to reach the state of pure nirvana, I think that it will surely be while eating a banana."

Fruits & Veggies I Have Known  

Copyright © 2018 by Tom Greening. All rights reserved.

For Robert Schley

For Bill Bruff

For Jim Bugental

Rollo May

Rollushka     

Rollo Comes Of Age

Hooray, Hooray For Rollo May

Writing and Poetry by Tom Greening

Our Dean Departs and Is Replaced

Krippner, Exposed

Krippner vs. Spider

The Great Melone

For Don Michael

For Huston Smith

Progress

Night Journey

Sabrina

For George

For Colton Jaffe

For Donald Rothberg

The Roots of Saybrook

Faculty Review