The Service of Remembrance at Alumni Day 2023.
Frank Wojciechowski

The Jacket

“Please use
good judgment”
They said
For the service
Of goodbye
Of remembrance
(When Old Nassau
will sound like
Auld Lang Syne)

“Please use
good judgment
on wearing
class jackets”
They said
“i.e.: not too ‘flashy’”

And I thought
Ours is not too flashy
(so I wore it)

I met someone ’87
Whose jacket
Also is not flashy
She chose
To wear a scarf

We spoke

“I don’t think
mine is too flashy”
I said
Becoming fast
My 20-year-old self
(don’t tell me
what to do)

“Yours is fine”
She said

“So is yours”
I said

“Class scarves and ties
are certainly welcome”
They said

I am familiar with loss
I am comfortable with grief
They are old friends
They grant
Permission to be melancholy
And meet the Muse in their midst
But I was not prepared
For the stirring
Of a slow Old Nassau
For looking at class after class
Representing the lost
(Or found
as per your
Lost to us on this side
This is sure

Six gone this year
On campus alone

Our class
Had three
(Our neighbors
’90 and ’92
had none)
But still
Someone stood
For each class
For everyone gone
Since our Genesis
As the rabbi called
Move-in day

While I processed
To the chancel and back
(To the wreath
formed of flowers
one for each class)
I thought of those
Who preceded us
To the other side
And I put my arms
Around myself
For a moment
Starting to recite
Their names
In my head
And then stopping

The jacket

The one that
Is not flashy

It is tailored
And lined
In names
Their names
Our names

I am wrapped
In my classmates

If I had
An ounce less
Self control
I would have stood
On my pew
And demanded
We all go home
Get our jackets
Put them on
And return
To the chapel
To pray properly

For what is
Our university
Without its spirit
The orange
The black
Working hard
Playing hard
Old Nassau
At full speed

One day
My name
Will be
In the booklet
One day
I would rather
Have my name there
Than to read yours
But one of us
Will have to read
Of the other
It was ever thus
And thus
It ever

“An other
Shall breathe
Our song
In praise

Cressey Belden ’91
New Hope, Pa.