'On the Mall'

February 12, 2003

Beneath the Judge's bronze-eyed watchfulness, 
Who seems forever ready this moment to rise and step out,
I amble from incandescent yellow circle
To dimness to recurrent amber ring, 
Again. Down the Mall,

I, the perpetual student, look up to see my life 
Sketched in twilight lines on pavement stones.
I came here -- to this very spot -- an eager soul
And readied my mind to rise like Baylor to action,
Then stepped out into the dimly seen unknown.

Down years the flame-hue from that Mall lamp beacons
Still over my shoulder and I rejoice
To discover it again in each new, true hyperbola
On a wall,
In each glowing circle that shows my way.

And then, remembering,
I toss back a smiling, half-chuckling "Thanks!"
To the lamps who lit my path
Those years ago,
And yet tonight.

-- Sam Matteson, BS '69, PhD '76
professor and chair of the Department of Physics at the University of North Texas

Matteson writes: "I was inspired to write (this poem) when I glanced at the back page of the September/October issue of Baylor Magazine and began to reminisce. ... I composed this piece as a thank offering to God and tribute to all the "Baylor lights" -- faculty, staff and friends -- who have helped illuminate my way through the years." In addition to his research publications in accelerator physics, Matteson has published several poems, guest columns and guest editorials in regional newspapers. He is married to Carolyn (Rhodes) Matteson, BA '65, MA '72, chair of the Department of English at Denton High School.