On the occasion of Jeffry Larson retiring from Yale
'Twas to Jeffry (with one "e"), to Jeffry we wanted
To deliver this irony-free double sonnet
(For "irony" dwells in the mind of the reader,
And here you'll find less iron than Bertolt Brecht's Lieder).
'Tis to Larson, to Larson upon his retiring,
That we say with a straight face: "You have been inspiring."
It is not our job here to subject you to roasting,
Since to say that we knew you is our form of boasting.
For Iberia, France, and for Italy's boot,
You're a bibliomaniac -- trained and astute.
Be it "Linguist" or "Classicist," "Eater of Eclairs,"
"Dedicated, Hard Worker" or "Traveler to Book Fairs,"
"Pikkellainen" or "Larson" or "Prince of Dauphins,"
"Kansas City's Yale Export" or "King of Romance,"
"The Curmudgeon of Conferences," "Teller of Blue Jokes,"
"Editor of the Newsletter," "One of the True Folks,"
"JKL of the WESSies..." -- whatever the naming,
You have really done well at the game you've been gaming.
Recently you were asked to expand past the Rhineland,
And you gritted your teeth, but you did not decline, man.
So we're wondering now, is it just a coincidence
That you're calling it quits in the wake of such incidents
As attempting to work with materials Teutonical?
Optometrically trying to look through a monocle?
Let us wish you the best as you reach all your late years.
Let us send you our accolades, hand-claps and great cheers.
May you, after long decades of joy and caprice
As a good Quaker gentleman, go find some peace.
- Dick Hacken