Our Professor Berrington

by Myles Weber (February 2024)

The Old Professor, Frank Duveneck, 1871



Our Professor Berrington proclaims an end
to certitude except his own.  He, like others,
flattens verity, for he’ll extend
a firm denial to facts.  He smothers

in the crib hard sciences, as he knows too much
that isn’t so.  Simultaneous
turgid pronouncements from a book—his crutch—
grease his smooth escape.  Who can free us

from slippery attempts to block, dispose
of, and dread our late advances?  Culture regresses
to cave-man schemes when primitives impose
fallacious postulations.  No one possesses

the fortitude we need to salvage clarity.
In rudimentary soil doubt is planted.
As his students we lack temerity:
To Professor Berrington, God has grantedas granted

an imitation intellect of a kind,
buried in academic detritus.
On some points, we bear the truth in mind.
On some, our hesitancy circles back to bite us.


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Myles Weber is the author of Consuming Silences: How We Read Authors Who Don’t Publish (University of Georgia Press).  His work has appeared in the Georgia Review, the Southern Review, the Sewanee Review, and the Kenyon Review.

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