Said he to the students entering—
Facing all of sixty seats:
“Charmed to greet you, ye who enter,
Praise be unto those who brave these 18th-century seas!”
But whoa, oh alas!
How he beckoned in vain,
Casting down forlorn students
With a mandated 15% participation grade.
So little he asked,
And yet so outwardly they grieved
Eyes downcast upon the floor, one failed quiz followed another,
From those unfortunate enough to have forgotten to read
O! trembled it did, his forsaken heart!
To witness their great collapse,
Each student, vigorless and vacant of interlude
Fallen wordlessly into terminal relapse
They lie silent in every row, careening the time
As their eyes glazed over in weariness, each grade paid its toll;
Like Death wrapped in lyrical hymns—while their professor requested very little—
CatCourses demanded their souls.
“Cursed am I!” The sore professor wept.
“Like the undead, they sit and they wallow!
I bring them tea and satire and metal,
Yet, their very understanding of what it means to be here—to be alive— appears too difficult to swallow!”
And yet, marched onward he did through an unresponsive scene;
Cursing the monotonous hues—
The purples, the greens, and the blues—
All glistening on the projector screen.
Inspired by the Romantics (and perchance Sir William Blake)
The professor sought refuge in the outdoors
And with sordid groans and unsightly quakes
Did each student arise from their throne of unrest beyond the door
Trembling was he,
As he witnessed their final claims
Like music each volunteered some insightful counterpoint
Proposing his own unrest as idleness and misunderstanding of their ways
“O! By the humanities!” Did the professor croak,
Gazing with bereavement in the cup of black tea in his hands,
“How peculiar it is, that they seem so averse to reading,
To fulfill their contract’s demands?
“They see not the sunlight glistening, nor the ducks over yonder…
They notice not the effort required— that I supply—
For the creation of such presentations.
Still their attention lay somewhere beyond here.
“And still I stand patient,
Perhaps the wiser for having waited
As they come crawling, evermore frequent,
With their begging: ‘Have mercy upon those who knew so little before!’”
To start: Yes, this poem was intended to sound extremely bitter.
This was my attempt at a lyrical ballad. Specifically, it is a recreation of Samuel Coleridge’s Rime of the Ancient Mariner. The purpose of this project was to utilize the presence of “zombies” within Coleridge’s poem as a reflection of the attitude of many at the start of the semester. It would be accurate to say that this poem exploits the expectations of the student with respect to those of the professor; in simpler terms, I think that more appreciation ought to be expressed towards those who do as much as possible to provide us the best education they can. Moreover, where there is often a discrepancy between the relationship of the teacher and the student, it is easy to place blame on the wiser when one chooses not to participate in self-reflection.