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We Are One

Poem by Jennifer Sicking
Video by Adam Brimer

Dawning’s rays greet ridges before
Dipping down in hollers before
Sweeping across the plateau before
Bidding adieu in the rich dirt delta,
Oh, we are Tennessee.

We challenge,
we uncover,
we bridge.
We translate ideas to actions,
glimmers of thoughts to stretching encounters
shadows of concepts to revelatory realities.

Gleaning wheat from the ancient and the modern,
From Socratic’ dialogues to Mark Dean’s personal computer.
On the day we don the cap and gown, we translate
into more than we were, but less than we ultimately will be.

Education does this. Our chaff, ground to dust.
Educated in the ways of the mind and the intricacies of the body,
We heal the sick among us and our Fidos and Betsies.

We springboard knowledge into more knowledge
from infinitely small to infinite plus one.
We reach beyond the moon and into the shooting
scatters of dirt and time that spin through space,
form mud into grace-filled bowls,
drum beats that set souls soaring.

March on!
We dance.
We sing.
We transform space and time
into an alternate reality…
though many would simply say
we act.

We all act.
Sometimes acting out.
Sometimes reacting.
And yet…
And yet…
There is a beauty to all.

Yes, you are different from me.
I am different from you.
And yet,
You blink just as me.
Tears fall through your pierced heart.
Mine too.
Well then.
One, beautifully brave, reaches out
A hand to another, beautifully brave,
And lightened souls chase
Loneliness into the dark night.

For…
Diversity enhances
Creativity enhances
Innovation enhances
Us.

All of us, these scattered broken pieces
Of science
Of art
Of education,
Create a beautiful wholeness,
A mysterious mosaic, mutely shouting
We are the University of Tennessee.

We are one.

Jennifer Sicking is Tennessee Alumnus chief staff writer. She composed “We Are One” to accompany a commemorative video presentation for the 2017 State of the University address.