A simple girl, sitting in her school’s cafe booth,
That studies for her classes with barely enough time for a breath,
And should be out in the town enjoying her youth,
What could she have seen of death?
I met a college girl,
She was almost twenty years of age, it was her second year at this school;
Her mornings were too rushed to even place a curl
In her hair with any heat tool.
She gave off a vintage sort of feel,
And her clothes were neat,
Her hazel eyes showed emotion, an emotion so real,
-Her qualities made me look at my feet.
‘In your family, how many members are there,
‘How many in all?’
‘In my family? Four for whom I care,’
She said with a voice not at all small.
‘And where are they today, if you don’t mind I ask.’
She said, “In total it’s five,
‘My sister is at work fulfilling her task,
‘Trying to make enough money in this economy to survive.
‘Two of us are probably at home –
‘My mom and my dad,
‘And then here using Google Chrome,
‘It’s me with my mouse pad.’
‘You said that two are at your house,
‘Your sister is at work,
‘Then it’s you with your electronic mouse,
‘But you mentioned that you are five’, I said hiding a smirk.
Then after a pause, the girl replied,
‘It’s five of us with me;
‘The other one of us died,
‘And he is buried under a beautiful tree.’
‘You breathe with more than one lung,
‘You are alive,
‘You are young,
‘But if one of you has died then you are no longer five.’
‘His memory is keen and the plants he would care for still remain green,’
The girl did reply,
‘He is right next to my grandparents,
‘They are by each other’s side.
‘I like to go and think while I sit
‘By their concrete graves,
‘I don’t think it will ever quit,
‘The sadness that comes and goes in waves.’
‘And sometimes when the breeze is blowing,
‘And the sun has started to go down,
‘The love I feel for him is so ongoing
‘That I think I might drown.
‘I wanted God to take away his pain
‘As he lay in the hospital bed,
‘And my eyes filled with rain
‘While the monitors blinked red.
‘So after the worst part of my life had begun,
‘We put him to rest in our homeland,
‘And all I wanted to do was run
‘Away from the part of my life that was unplanned.
‘And when the summer storms began to threaten the sky,
‘I knew it would almost be time for me to go,
‘But all I could go was watch and cry
‘As parts of me lost their glow.’
‘How many are in your family then,’ said I,
‘If one of you has gone to live with God?’
The girl then looked me straight in the eyes,
‘We are five, our number is still odd.’
‘But one is dead, he will always be dead!
‘You are old enough to understand that his body is no longer alive!’
Yet, I knew I was throwing my words away
Because for the rest of her life, this girl would say,
‘No. We are five. We will always be five!’
This poem is a parody of “We Are Seven” by William Wordsworth. The the original structure of the poem is maintained so that none of the poem’s vital characteristics would be lost. The same ABAB rhyme scheme is displayed in this version of the poem so that the style would be similar, while adding new words. The new words and the new story told by the poem is presented in the same way as the original. The subtle references made to today’s surroundings (a university, an educated female, a female in the workplace, a struggling economy, the internet, a cafe) are used so that the poem can relate to a contemporary audience. Wordsworth used a lot of nature in his version, but this version connects to modernity. The same seventeen stanzas are kept as well as the dialogue between the “author” and the character in the poem. William Wordsworth uses simple language in order to convey the meaning of life and death – or in order to spark the conversation on what is the meaning of life and death. In Wordsworth’s version, the little girl is naive and so it can be assumed that she does not understand what death is to the same extent as the narrator. However, in this version, the girl is presented as an older, more educated individual on the brink of adulthood. The point is to demonstrate how the concept of death can be understood, but it does not mean that people will change their beliefs or change the way that they think about their lost loved ones. Death does not have to mean that their spiritual presence is gone and by thinking of the dead as still being present, it may be a coping mechanism for some people. Five members are used instead of seven so that the poem wouldn’t be too similar. The member of the family who was lost is not specified in order to demonstrate that, no matter who it was that died, grief knows no boundaries and death is interpreted differently by certain individuals. It is also something that everyone must face in their lives and it will be felt differently through each person. The poem is particularly true because I used my own experience with death as a foundation for the poem’s story (I also chose Wordsworth’s poem because of my personal connection to it). The same formula that Wordsworth used is replicated to show that even people who understand death have a hard time accepting the absence of someone they love no matter the place and time. The time and the person can be changed within the poem, but the message of death and its meaning is still conveyed in the story.
-Maria G. Perez