My Truth through Blake and Shelley

 

The United States, 2019

Inspired by William Blake

I walk through the loud-quiet streets,

Where no one is a friend or a foe.

And I try to smile at every face I meet

But I am forsaken of the hate, I am filled with woe.

 

In every cry of every Woman,

In every immigrant taken away,

In every march, in every game plan

I feel left out from the alleyway

 

How the unheard cry,

Every religion in remorse,

I cannot just sit around waiting to die

For in the end, I would be just a lying corpse

 

But I ask what can I participate in?

What can I do than just give my time?

There is a power growing within

And it will lead to wartime

 

The U.S. in 2019

Inspired by Percy Bysshe Shelley

An old, racist, orange, loathed, and lying President;

Privileged, the ignorant of the majority, who trickle

Through with their public persona, —blood from a fountain of tears;

Lawmakers who neither see nor comprehend, scared to lose a nickel,

But as if they are moths to a flame when their people give false cheers

Till they realize the insincere, acting what is wanted, but are with minds of fickle.

People of color mocked and imprisoned in the unrecognizable towns;

An unforeseen alliance, who will bring about change

Will attempt to start a battle where many will be brought down;

Obscure and buoyant laws which persuade for an understanding exchange;

Scientific Religion, God-filled—a fate sealed;

A senate, the people’s worst statute, a constant battlefield—-

Filled with the graves of those who would have brought great reign

But are forgotten and ignored until another chance comes again

 

Merced, 2019

Inspired by William Blake

I walk through the green filled land,

Where there is a serene mood at every corner

Given my status from the city, I want to understand firsthand,

Why such a quiet calm place makes me feel like a foreigner

 

In every local business that spews their time,

In every Mercedian trying to get by,

I feel as though I am always on the climb,

To try and reach a point where all I can do is try

 

How the locals try to smile at the youth,

How the school tries to make their problems anew

Living here is like I’m living in my untruth

Constantly and always feeling blue

 

But I do try my best to try and appreciate

For Merced is quite its own unique place

I often wonder if my presence here is fate

But for now, that’s an unresolved case

 

Review:

What I’ve always appreciated about English and writing is that it’s a way and approach for people to display their own personal truth. For my creative project, I decided to write different versions of Percy Shelley and William Blake’s poems about London, but for the writings to speak my own truth about how I see the United States and Merced right now. Two very conflicting topics for me as I have a lot of love and distrust over both places at the current moment.

I knew I wanted to continue writing under the influence of Blake as I found his poem, London, 1802, incredibly moving and easy to understand. I followed his format of alternate rhyme, or most often known as ABAB rhyme scheme, and I kept his constant question asking tactics to evoke a sense of worry and plea for the reader. Percy Shelley’s poem was, to be frank, a poem that I struggled with in both reading and writing it. I understood what Shelley was trying to say and evoke in his poem but translating it for a more modern audience was a challenge. It almost followed the rhyme scheme of a Ballade but not exactly. It was, however, close enough where I knew where to rhyme and how to form lines that didn’t read as fillers for a rhyme scheme. Shelley also goes through stages of criticism and analysis when writing his poem, which I tried to replicate by overtly writing my disapproval of what’s happening in today’s politics while also writing lines as a bystander witnessing everything.

I wouldn’t say I parodied Blake or Shelley, I believe I took influences in the manner that they wrote and the topics they posed and transformed them into a more modern setting with current topics that my classmates would empathize with. I wrote two based on the United States because the one thing everybody can agree on today is that we are drastically divided in opinions and ideas. It’s important to have conversations addressing these issues so that was my reasoning for writing those poems. The one poem of Merced was my take and ode to what my time in Merced has shown/taught me. I see it as a continuation of my poem about San Francisco I wrote for the class a few weeks ago and I liked the idea of writing about Merced. The poems aren’t exactly imitations of Shelley and Wordsworth because I didn’t copy line by line or even formatted the lines the same way. I followed their rhyme scheme and writing tactics more than anything. Overall, Shelley and Blake are two great writers who taught me a lot about writing poetry and it was therapeutic writing these poems.

-Abe Alvarez

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4 thoughts on “My Truth through Blake and Shelley

  1. I think the most original part of this post was your first poem inspired by William Blake. It felt like the poem was me speaking because of how much emotion and thought you put into it. maybe you could have extended the poem a little more by including what changes we need to make to improve our country.

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  2. I like how the poems are very good at relating the same feelings of criticism like from the source material. I feel like this is something I would read from an angsty teenager from high school, and I mean that in the best way possible. I think this could have been improved if there was a little time spent to enlighten the audience about the skepticism of their views.

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  3. This parody summarizes the political climate in the United States and Merced with the employment of Blake’s “London 1802.” It does a good job at doing this by communicating the emotions that can be possibly evoked by the situations in both place; the US in general and Merced being a location in the U.S. I enjoyed it although not everyone’s views align to it.

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  4. I like how you modernized each poem and applied them to the U.S. of today. However, the rhyming in the last poem made me feel like it could have been better if there were no rhyme scheme. Other than that this was a great read.
    -Carmen Ibarra

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