Indolence: An Apology to All the Seniors I’ve Taught

. . others in Elysian valleys dwell,
Resting weary limbs at last on beds of asphodel 

A lovely word, with its three vowel-laden syllables, indolence: the Latin word for grieving – dolor – sandwiched between a negative prefix and a noun suffix.

It originally denoted a state of not grieving, of avoiding trouble, but lapsed in time to mean laziness, what Ozzie and Harriet would call not giving a “hoot,” what the Bellamy Brothers would call not giving a “rip,” what Johnny Depp would call not giving a “shit.”

In other words, high school seniors after spring break.

The path to graduation leads through fields of poppies past the prom into the prison block of final exams.

Meanwhile, they sit with their heads on their desks, their glazed eyes like marbles staring vacantly as a boring old baldheaded shuffling jackass reads out loud lines of poetry

That young men, tossing on their beds,
Rhymed out in love’s despair
To flatter beauty’s ignorant ear.