A Long Story to a Short Poem

While I work on a couple more stories for future posts, I’m sharing this little poem I wrote the day I defended my Master’s thesis. It was written in the three hours between rehearsing my presentation and waiting for auditorium to fill. I was a wreck, a bundle of nerves nestled in a taut slingshot ready to be launched. I also worked on the poem because I had planned to put it at the end of my presentation.

You see, during my last Spring semester I jumped at the chance to take this Scientists and Poets class where a group of us science graduate students had the opportunity to write poetry and speak with real poets. It was a good time, especially for someone who’s trapped in both worlds. We continued to meet and write poetry after the class ended, and some of us who defended put poems at the end of our thesis presentations. So, that was what I was trying to do, but the best I could come up with was something to reveal the anxiety that I had before my presentation.

For those who do not know, in order to get my Masters of Science, I had to present my research in a public forum filled with my peers. Afterward, I would disappear for an hour or longer to meet with my three committee members about how to improve on the thesis before they would sign off on it. Then, I would finally have my Master’s. I do not have a problem speaking in public; however, I learned during my time at the university that I have a problem speaking in front a group where I know everyone. These are people I had come to respect, and they may have respected me. This presentation would not be the time to unveil that I was a complete idiot. After the whole debacle, there would be a victory celebration involving champagne and cake.

The best part was that I had a deal with my friend and fellow graduate student to have a cake made with “Congratulations!” on one half and “Oops!” on the other. You know, just in case I failed. However, the bakery did not scribe it properly and the “Oops!” was just large enough to make one helping of the cake, so, after my success, I was literally forced to eat my own words.

So to make a long story short . . . I’m waiting for it. You done? Good. I wrote this poem to cope with the anxiety and maybe put something funny at the end of my presentation. However, I chickened out (why is cowarded not a word?) and only shared it with my fellow rookie poets afterward.

Since the background is longer than the poem, I’ll add a second link to it.

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