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PETER DUREY’S STORY
"When Moyle retired they found a desk
drawer crammed with bunches of keys.
Moyle was systematic, librarians have to be.
Each bunch was labelled
‘I don’t know what these are keys to.’
A whole drawerful – he was in charge of
complicated information retrieval services."
‘I don’t know what these are keys to.’
That’s how people think universities work,
finding things which will unlock.
A notable social scientist used to teach
in a boarding house not now remembered clearly.
He was brilliant at seminars, his lectures were
off the cuff, publishers sought him,
students ran scared, he was so much in command,
devastating.
                    One day at his office
he was very proud of himself.
Sleeves rolled, glasses dazzling, he stacked
oh it must have been close on a hundred
biggish flat boxes, the kind which dress shops used.
"Look at that now, years of it! At last,
I’ve got it all arranged." Each box, labelled.
The first said Field Notes, Classified.
The second, Field Notes, Classified.
The ninety-plus others, Field Notes, Unclassified.
That’s how people think
university people work, bringing to order,
all the time collecting, finding out, systematising.
                                                                                      ….. 83?
Editor's note
Peter Durey’s Story: first published in Are You Going to the Pictures? (1987); Peter Durey was Head Librarian at Auckland University from the 1970s to the 1990s; the anthropologist mentioned was possibly Murray Groves
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