Lines composed a few miles from UC Merced. May 7th, 2019

Two years have past; four terms, as long as

Four long years! Yet still I hear

The wind, blowing along the sunburnt grass

With the collective sloth of the cows — And again

Do I see the flat lands the mountains far,

That on this lifeless canvas dismay

Thoughts of social reclusion; and feel

The world with its emptiness abound

This day has arrived When I look back again

Here out under the piping valley sun, and view

The weathered streets, these deprived students, just kids.

Which at this moment, with their torn minds

Are wrapped in the stressful embrace, and lose themselves

‘Mid classrooms and halls. Again I observe

These students, hardly people anymore

Lost inside their work, Societal Obligations!

Inside the dormitory cave, where by the lamp

There exists a student. In the cave they study.

The student studies alone.

A slave.

                                                These twisted forms

Through a lasting presence, have belonged to me

As a canvas to a painter’s brush,

Still often in busy rooms amid the bustle

Of chattering peers, I am indebted,

Hours of exhaustion, senses numbed,

I feel in my bones, in my mind;

Perhaps even in my heart or my very being

Our feelings ripped apart, turned to dust

Disregarded thoughts and opinions,

That have no listeners, no impact

Until, the breathing stops

The blood stops running

And we are all lowered down, into the Earth.

The body dies and the spirit with it.

Never to be heard again, as if they even heard at all.

The end, and the joy of it.

With death brings light we cannot see

                                                                But this!

Is just an empty belief, yet, common! So common—

All throughout the many teachings of

Empty knowledge, empty beliefs, professed!

It hangs heavy on my heart—

How often I have turned to You

Oh Lord! Thou hopeless illusion

How often I turn to you!

Yet of all the people. I blame

You.

You did this.

    But now, with rays of disillusion,

I recognize poisoned thoughts

And perhaps, a somber confusion, or is this clarity?

Yet this mental picture still haunts me

Meanwhile I sit here, not only with this madness

Of the current pain, but with painful thoughts

That in this moment there is work then death. For what?

For the future, and that I fear.

I’ve changed so much, from the beginnings

Who am I now? Who are we?

Certainly not us.

I made it to these halls, and despite everlasting torment

I worked harder than ever, like the wind

Pushing against a mountain, fruitless

I walked across the campus, where the schedule dictated

Wherever I was led: Like a lost child, worthless

Running from fears, instead of chasing dreams

Getting caught and catching none. For now

I cannot envision what I used to be

Because when I am here, it is gone

Amid the ruins of distorted identities

If I should stand where all I can hear me

I say this.

Inside Me.

Inside Us.

Something is wrong.

This is my parody of Tintern Abbey by William Wordsworth. Instead of the sense of tranquility and happiness described in the original poem, my parody flips that on its head and describes a sense of despair and chaos that many students, myself included feel at this particular time of year. The unorthodox style of romantic poetry interested me greatly when reading it. I particularly enjoy how it is not held back by the standard conventions which, while certainly valuable at times, can also limit creativity and ideas. I chose to emulate William Wordsworth’s somewhat unorthodox style that lacks the standard conventions of poetry. Because of this I felt Tintern Abbey was the perfect poem to emulate because of its complete lack and disregard of poetic structure. I feel like this matches the sense of disillusion I was trying to convey with the parody. Instead of a peaceful recluse of a church. There is instead the chaotic nature of a college campus filled with people all experiencing the same social tension and anxiety. The beginning of the poem stays close to the style of Wordsworth yet as it goes on it diverges. This was done purposefully, not only to separate it from the original but also to give off a sense of distortion. Many people begin a semester feeling hopeful and slowly become more and more anxious as it goes only. I tried to display the exact opposite of the hopeful emotion displayed in the original but at certain times went for the same sentiment, as it seemed appropriate in particular moments. Some short lines I elongated and some long lines I made shorter if I thought it added to the parody. To me parody is about a drastic shift in the message of something while at the same time keeping mostly the same style of the original, which is exactly what I hope I achieved here.

  • Evan Klang
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