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Commencement Poem

Now That This Is Over, What Do You Plan To Do Next?

By Rebecca Connors, MFA ’20
Poet, Graduate of the Solstice Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing 

For the Graduating Class of 2021

Our bodies have been caught between spring forward
& retreat. We wanted to embrace each other or hide
under the covers. Wanted our friends & loved ones.
To that, add homework & papers & deadlines. Add family
commitments. Add no place for peace. Add protesting violence.
Add masks, handwashing, & spending too many hours
on Zoom. Let’s pause.

For now, the portraits in Moncrief look upon no one.
Chipmunks run amok. The rhododendrons
bloom large & lush near the Ferry building. Without you.
Yet Pine Manor is full with your voices, your challenges,
your hope. The library hums with your research,
the grounds with your athletics, the dining hall with your
conversations. Let’s pause

on the brink between what has come before you
& what lies ahead. Let’s acknowledge your sacrifice,
your hard work. Acknowledge this journey. Acknowledge
what you accomplished during a global pandemic. What’s next?

Celebrate. Relax. Hug your friends. Watch cherry blossoms
drift to a mess in the grass while you sit on Roxbury
puddingstone & breathe in sun scent. Stay home because
you want to, not because you have to. Be brave-alive,
be truth-hungry. Be a graduate of Pine Manor College.

By Rebecca Connors © 2021 

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