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.
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
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 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.
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