The Retirement of Marianne Siegmund

There are prologues and epilogues
In work as in life.
There are backlogs for catalogs;
Just ask my wife.

Marianne was born in a land long scorned
For being a bit vampiric,
But in Transyl-Vane, as we must explain,
All the fuss is just atmospheric;
For Dracula’s decoy is a clever ploy
To attract live tourist corpses:
So for garlic’s sakes and for wooden stakes
When the full moon drapes over darkened shapes
You won’t need pitchforks and torches.

Ms. Siegmund was young when her family was flung
From the land she would not be raised in;
In the midst of a war that they could not ignore
They shared an experience much like the Syrians
And left the Carpathian basin.
Since the reason they left leaves the spirits depressed;
Since the full story smarts, we will now leave some parts
To your own imagination
And proceed to the scenes following New Orleans
Where the family passed immigration.

Though her language was German, with accents determined
To have almost no comparison,
Through social tectonics and reading the comics,
She was soon speaking goodly American.
Then she got cultivated and well educated
At the Sooner State’s OU.
Following Oklahoma’s she got two more diplomas
Till her brain could store more than she knew.

With college behind her, she deftly refined her
Librarianship down to a science.
Her catalog skills she “classified” as thrills,
Rejoicing at LC compliance.
She started to work, and one day met some jerk,
And eventually they formed an alliance.
The best choice she saw was to move to Utah,
Strange place for a roving Hungarian;
And then over time in this harsh desert clime,
She became the Romance Cat Librarian.

There is quite an advantage to Romance as a language
And it’s clearly one Marianne knows,
Yet the speech of romance that they parlay in France
Is not one that naturally flows.
The Italian dactylic that seems so idyllic
For her, likewise, just comes and goes;
But the tones of Madrid, from a Fulbright she did,
Caught her fancy for Spanish Castilian.
(Though the syllable wisps and the audible lisps
Almost call for a tongue that’s reptilian.)

Now her years have moved on and her pension is drawn;
She has things to look forward to that way.
Yes, it’s Marianne’s joy to no longer annoy
Herself with the RDA.
How great to ignore and not care anymore
What the national utilities say.

For goodness SACO she’ll forsake the NACO
And BIBCO will be bupkus.
Whether names are established or backlogs are banished
Will no longer cause her a ruckus.
“OCLC” is down, that Eskimo noun
Properly pronounced “Awk-Lock.”
What it means I don’t know, maybe some sort of snow
That the Inuit have in stock.

Once you’ve put in your years it is easy, one hears,
To simply just step aside,
As you happily read or get up on a steed
And gallop off all satisfied;
But a few do like dealing with that hybrid feeling,
When the time at work expires;
When the feelings are mixed, and you get transfixed,
Such as when Marianne retires.

Now the books in Spanish no longer vanish
Beneath her magic touch,
And the words one sees in the Portuguese
Might as well be Ancient Dutch.
Oh, the vivid looks in Italian books
Have now turned to drab and grey,
Since before our sight things have turned less bright:
Marianne has gone away.

Dick Hacken, 2016