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Fall 2002
Vol. 65, No. 1

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Rochester Review--University of Rochester magazine

Plutzik Day: To commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Plutzik Memorial Series at the University, the City of Rochester declared May 11 as Hyam Plutzik Day, giving special recognition to the late poet's well-known work, Sprig of Lilac, as last spring's Lilac Festival opened in Rochester. Founded in 1962 to honor the life and poetic career of the late Deane Professor of Poetry and Rhetoric, the series now is regarded as one of America's oldest and most prestigious literary reading programs.

Sprig of Lilac

Their heads grown weary under the weight of Time-
These few horus on the hither side of silence-
The lilac sprigs bend on the bough to perish.

Though each for its own sake is beautiful;
In each is the greater, the remembered beauty.
Each is exemplar of its ancestors.

Within the flower of the present, uneasy in the wind,
Are the forms of those of the years behind the door.
Their faint aroma touches the edge of the mind.

And the living and the past give to one another.
There is no door between them. They pass freely
Out of themselves; becoming one another.

I see the lilac sprigs bending and withering.
Each year like Adonis they pass through the dumb-show of death,
Waxing and waning on the tree in the brain of a man.

- Hyam Plutzik
(c)1949, Estate of Hyam Plutzik. Used with persmission.

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