The Lantern of Diogenes
All maturation has a root in quest.
How long thy wick has burned, Diogenes!
I see thy lantern bobbing in unrest
When others sit with babes upon their knees
Unconscious of the twilight or the storm,
Along the streets of Athens, glimmering strange,
Thine eyes upon the one thing keeps thee warm
In all this world of tempest and of change.
Along the pavestones of Florentian town
I see the shadows cower at thy flare,
In Rome and Paris; in an Oxford gown,
Men’s laughter could not shake the anxious care
Which had preserved thy lantern. May it be
That something of thy spirit burns in me!–Jenny Lind Porter
Tonight will be the public meeting of the Austin Historic Landmarks Commission at the Austin City Hall Council Chambers regarding the proposed demolition of Dr. Jenny Lind Porter’s house in Austin, Texas. It’s not the only item on the agenda and the meeting runs between 7-10 PM this evening.
The link to the live broadcast on local TV is here.
About five years ago, I bought a copy of one of Dr. Porter’s books, “The Lantern of Diogenes and Other Poems” published by The Naylor Company Book Publishers in 1954 in San Antonio, Texas. It was sold for $3.00. She dedicated the book to her mother. The message I got from the seller was intriguing:
I anticipate the decision from the Austin Historic Landmarks Commission will ultimately be to release the permit to demolish Dr. Porter’s house. This will not diminish her memory in the hearts of the many students she inspired over many years to become teachers themselves, to look beyond what the world is and imagine what it could be, and to believe in the soul of man, no matter where scientists and philosophers think it lives. Her legacy will live on long after her house is gone. Her lantern will always be lit.