At the end of a school year, we often compare our seniors to ships sailing off into the unknown. As this semester closed, a ship literally left our college’s shores. The Sea Voyager, temporary dormitory as St. Mary’s battled a mold problem, cast off its ropes on Sunday (I heard the horn as I was in church), bringing to mind an Alfred, Lord Tennyson poem.
I’ll give you the poem in a moment, but here’s an update on the mold. (My original post can be read here.) Our president reported that it has successfully been rooted out of the two infected residence halls, our environmental consultant agency having given us a clean bill of health. In January the students will return to their Prince George and Caroline dormitory rooms, which are more spacious but lack the spectacular vistas they had been enjoying. The students report that the ship’s lounges, turned into study areas, were a joy to use (see above).
Tennyson’s poem is a description of the death the poet foresees for himself so it’s not entirely appropriate for the occasion. But there was a surprisingly emotional leave taking as the Greek captain and crew of the Sea Voyager departed. They had formed strong bonds with the students, so the departure does feel momentous, and the captain said he would be donating an icon of the Virgin Mary in honor of the school. (He must have seen it as particularly significant to be stationed at “St. Mary’s,” although we are not a religious school.) So despite Tennyson’s instructions, there was indeed some “sadness of farewell.”
Crossing the Bar
By Alfred, Lord Tennyson
Sunset and evening star,
And one clear call for me!
And may there be no moaning of the bar,
When I put out to sea,
But such a tide as moving seems asleep,
Too full for sound and foam,
When that which drew from out the boundless deep
Turns again home.
Twilight and evening bell,
And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness of farewell,
When I embark;
For tho’ from out our bourne of Time and Place
The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
When I have crost the bar.