The Pumpkins of Rounds Hall

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Pumpkins on top of Rounds Hall

Today we have a timely poem from Caitlin Andreasen, PSU class of 2018:

I graduated in 2018. My English degree has taken me to unexpected places as I now work in the insurance industry as an underwriting assistant. Autumn in Plymouth was always my favorite time of year, with the changing foliage, the poetry reading at First Fire, and of course, the mysterious pumpkins on top of Rounds Hall. What started as an imagery exercise in Liz Ahl’s poetry workshop became a tribute to the pumpkins, the myths and traditions surrounding them, and the unique culture and community of PSU.

Pumpkins on top of Rounds Hall
Pumpkins on top of Rounds Hall. Image from The Clock at PSU

The Pumpkins of Rounds Hall

Though limbless, we stand guard
long after the leaf-peepers
scatter back to their cities.
My sister and I remain
devoted to our posts
for the sake of Tradition.

Though eyeless, we witness
while the mountain’s colors brighten and fade
the people don hats and scarves.
Soon our expressionless
shiny-skinned faces
will scowl, sunken
and wrinkled under a
lacework veil of frost.

Though earless, we take notice
of the wind and the chatter below.
The tower nags hourly and
the spires tremble at each bell.

The manner of our arrival
Is a secret well-kept.
We simply appear each October
in a ritual whose origin and
purpose have been lost.
The legend changes often:

Did we sprout through the rooftop
from magical seeds? Were
we dropped from a helicopter?
Or perhaps planted by ghostly hands
of professors past?
Maybe Mr. Frost
left his bench one night to
scale the tower while
students were sleeping…
Mouthless, we will never tell.

Those of you below dart back
and forth, gazes fixed on
the starlight glow in your hands.
Soon, we will fall, our frozen
fingerless grip failing us
overworked and rotted
from the inside out.
But for now,
We remind you on the ground
that once in a while
it is important to

Look up.

(Written in the Fall 2016 Poetry Workshop at PSU)

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