You hear a lot of talk about mentors and mentoring around a university and that's certainly not a bad thing, but I wonder to what extent real mentoring can be institutionalized. I had a dream the night before last that has stuck with me -- or parts of it have. I was traveling and having difficulties making my connections and getting my baggage right at the airport. It wasn't frantic and people were helping me, but it was complicated and difficult. I was worn out and found myself in a room with a large mattress and I lay down to rest. At that point my old teacher HC came and put a light blanket over me. I think I remember him smiling and saying something reassuring, but I can't be absolutely sure of that. A little later, after waking, I was in a nearby room with the poet David Wagoner, also a former teacher of mine. He was showing HC and me his father's suit, which appeared to be made of light flannel -- "I shall wear white flannel trousers and walk upon the beach." Wagoner handed me his father's suit jacket and told me to put it on. I think the sleeves were a little long. And he let me hold the trousers up to see how they were for length, but I didn't try them on. There may have been more after that, but I don't remember.

Author: jd

Joseph Duemer is Professor of Literature Emeritus at Clarkson University in northern New York state. His most recent book of poems is Magical Thinking from Ohio State University Press. Since the mid-1990s he has spent a good deal of time in Vietnam, mostly Hanoi. He lives with his wife Carole & five terriers (four Jack Russells & one Patterdale) on the stony bank of the Raquette River in South Colton.