Thursday, November 17, 2016

What are the roots that clutch

I take attendance by having students answer a question. This week's emotionally-dark-poetry theme continues, as I explored my students' ongoing liberal arts education by asking:
What are the roots that clutch, what branches grow
Out of this stony rubbish?
A couple students answered, "hope."

Several other students answered in a more literal direction:
  • a tree!
  • BST?
  • an AVL tree
  • weeds...?
  • Evil Trees (of Rowan and Rin)
  • the roots of trash trees?
  • some kind of moss probably

Most students expressed confusion and lack of understanding, for example "I just don't know", "I'm confused", "I give up.", "I'm a CS major for a reason...", and "Sorry, bad liberal arts student!"

From this I have learned two things. Firstly, T. S. Eliot's The Waste Land is not as widely recognizable as I assumed, and secondly and less-surprisingly, T. S. Eliot's The Waste Land does not make for a good joke setup.

Ah, well.

This post's theme word is lobolly (n), "a thick gruel", or "mire; mudhole," or "an assistant to a ship's surgeon," or "a pine tree with long needles and strong wood (Pinus taeda)," or "an evergreen, loblolly-bay (Gordonia lasianthus)." The lobolly stuck in a lobolly full of lobolly used lobolly branches to climb up to refuge in his lobolly-house, perched on the side of the stony cliff.

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