Ode to the Capstone

If you drive into Tuscaloosa and look,

You’ll come across a house made of Windows.

It’s quite a large house, and beautiful, look;

Every last bit of it’s covered in Windows.

There have to be thousands, tens of thousands, no less,

But not a two in the place are the same.

To an undiscerning eye, the house is a mess,

But each Window has a story, each Window a name.

Some Windows are big, some Windows are small,

And some are neither, or rather, between.

Just look! Round and Square, Triangle and Oval.

Not a two are the same in the glistening scene.

The Windows are everywhere, in and around,

But if you look closely you might notice a theme.

The Windows are arranged in groups up from the ground:

There are Front ones, Back ones, and Side ones that gleam.

The Front is made up of Windows quite similar,

And the Front Windows are proud of being that way.

They stand at the Front, proud to be similar,

Ignoring any differences to praise similarity.

They are not all the same but look like they’ve been pressed

In some factory basement to fit a mold.

If you listen you can almost hear their distress,

As they’re forced into frames strict and old.

Meanwhile on the Back of the building, you’ll find

Windows, different and the same as their neighbors.

Independent, but to the Front still similar, mind;

Their pride is in the differences they favor.

And then on the Sides of the house are the rest,

Myriad Windows just thankful for a place.

They’re less caught up with which wall looks the best;

They aren’t aware there is even a race.

The caretakers here are a few stern, smiling men,

And they do their best to make the Windows look fine.

Of course, they pay more attention to the Front Windows, then

If time allows, they might give the Back ones a shine.

The stern, smiling men fix cracks and holes along the Front line,

With cellophane, scotch tape, and gloss,

Or whatever else can make the Windows look fine.

They cover up imperfections they come across.

Of course, the caretakers’ fixes are not really fixes at all,

So all over the house, Windows broken and not,

Have learned they need each other, the big and the small,

When a rock comes crashing in, or frames crack and rot.

It’s a sight to behold, all the Windows there side by side,

Leaning on one another, forty thousand glistening panes.

And the breaks and the cracks are worn with bright, shining pride,

The jagged edges shake out light, like lightning flashes in rain.

But listen! For from the house, from every Window thrown open,

A thousand sounds pour out, tens of thousands, no less.

The sounds are Voices for every Window thrown open,

Voices, strange and familiar, a beautiful, dissonant mess!

Yet, some Voices are too loud and drown others out;

They haven’t yet learned to sing in a choir.

But give it time, and soon enough they’ll learn that without

Every voice, the song too quickly tires.

Listen! Some already are learning the key.

To make music means letting go.

It’s not about I; it’s about finding We,

And another’s song makes yours only grow.

And look! Here’s a woman with a bright smile on her face

She’s leaving from a tall window on the side

And if you ask her the point of coming to this place,

She’ll laugh and she’ll wink both her bright eyes.

“Go look for yourself through each Window, I mean every one,

And remember the view from each side.

Learn how each pane changes the light from the sun

As it sets, and then you’ll know why.

Learn to sing with every voice that you hear,

Don’t change their songs to match yours.

Let new voices change you and strengthen your ear,

And I promise you’ll leave here with more.

This house has many Windows, and it’s easy to lose track,

To get caught up on that side or this.

But each one will change you, Front, Side, and Back,

And when you leave here, each Window you’ll miss.”

Mark Hammontree is a senior majoring in secondary education-language arts. He has written opinions for the Crimson White since June 2014. He has also served as the President of the Other Club, Senior Advisor to the SGA President, Co-Director of UnlockED, and formerly, as the News Editor of The Crimson White. After graduation, he will be moving to Atlanta to pursue his career by teaching high school English.

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