FOR ESTER SCHULTZ:
TEACHER, COLLEAGUE, FRIEND

 To one whose path of light passed forty years,
Whose teaching has informed a multitude,
We bid fare well forbidding nudging tears
To vex this gathering of gratitude.

Yet we have ample cause for sadness here:
No loveliness departs without regret:
We weep to see rare flowers disappear
Or friends depart whom we can not forget;

    For oh, how empty will the home room be
Without Miss Schultz's warm and easy grace,
Without that love and generosity
Imbuing every smile upon her face.

And whose will match that low and measured voice
Where perfect diction found its perfect home,
Whose heart surpass the earnest, kind concern
Extended every student in the room?

Others will follow, others strive to please,
New educators vie to fill your place,
But though they be as wise as Socrates
None will completely fill the empty space;

For teaching is more than facts and knowledge given,
It's love’s fine understanding wrought in pain;
It's 'midnight oil' oft burned from seven to seven;          
It's giving all for small apparent gain.

So we shall not replace her. How could we?
More easily turn the spring-warm rain to snow,
Or substitute a sapling for a tree
And set a shrub where once an oak did grow.

And so dear Esther, as you pass the door
That leads from Science* to a higher goal,
Yours is a path true seekers must explore,
Made brighter by the radiance of your soul.

*I was a student of Esther's in 1958; later I became a member of her English dept. She taught Spanish, German, and Freshman Composition and left behind her a multitude of grateful, loving, students and associates at North Dakota. State School of Science.

(Gene Pinkney 11/2/06).