We Are More Than Who He Took Away

The sun began to set, so I decided to speak

With Richie I started, as he was the oldest

I’d ask them all over the coming week

“Seven” he said then hung up, the one who to me was the coldest.

 

Proceeded to Gilbert since he’s next in line

As he answered I heard it in his voice, all of the pain

“Seven, my sweet- he didn’t take her away, she is still mine”

As he spoke, I was left motionless in the pouring rain.  

 

Onto Danny, the one who doesn’t work

Excluding yourself, what’s your mother’s total of kids?

“Seven, my brothers and sisters” he began to say with a smirk

“The little one always liked to steal my water cup lids”

 

Tío Frankie, it’s your turn to answer now

“Of course, love, I have seven- we were always side by side

I continuously question to him why, and wish I could forget how

Though the youngest of all, she’d always came along for the ride”

 

Father, she asked in your family how many siblings are there?

“Richie, Gilbert, Danny, Frankie, your nino, Sandra and Ashley, so seven

Even if the same father we all do not share”

But Nino, Ashley has left us to go to heaven.

 

“I know mija, but I still have a total of seven

Five brothers and two sisters, he replied”

But her body wasn’t even hiddèn

You still consider yourselves seven though one of you has died?

 

“Hi mija, of course there are seven siblings, he killed her but not in my heart”

No tia, he took her from us, we will never get her back

“Yes, she may be gone but that doesn’t tear my siblings apart

We have plenty, family is something we do not lack”

This poetic piece pays homage to Wordsworth’s, We Are Seven from the Lyrical Ballads. A question raised for this is the question on if this poem could be used as evidence in a court case? This fits into our course because it it’s a literature of power, it is read aloud and obtains the power to put this man away in jail. I decided to follow the ABAB rhyme scheme of Wordsworth, but made the structure shorter. In my opinion it still creates the same meaning obtained through Wordsworth’s poem, a family standing in union even though a sibling is dead. Some important background to this piece that I find necessary to understand why this could be used as evidence in a court case is the fact that it will be used in an actual court case. The seven stanzas in this creative poem, each represent my aunt, uncles and father in the order of their births. I went asking each of them hoe many siblings they had and to no surprise they all told me seven which includes their youngest sister who was murdered. The judge asked my family members to write something known as an impact statement to help him decide how much our lives have been effected and to help him make his ruling. Along with my statement I attached this poem and another I’ve written about her death addressing her murderer. These works of literature as power moved the judge enough to make him think they are sufficient enough to use as evidence to persuade a jury. The overall concept I’m trying to make with this poem is how my family understands the death of their youngest sibling, but it doesn’t change the way they think of their family. Though Wordsworth’s poem was written in the 1800’s, I have proven that it can still be relatable to today’s world without meaning being completely lost. As well as how it can be used in a unique way to move people to make decisions of great importance.

-Alina Cantero

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Garcia Gave me all the Answers. I did Nothing

Caspar David Friedrich’s painting The Abbey in the Oakwood is ominous, there is death in both nature and humanity, and the architecture looks dilapidated and frightening. The colors are just an awful, depressing shade and the dilapidated structure looks separated from the outside world. I compare this to Wordsworth’s poem The Convict. I read this as Wordsworth being highly against the conventions of prison, as prison is death and destruction of the soul.

The poem does not at all paint prison as a haven. Lines 13 -16 read, “His black matted head on his shoulder I bent, / And deep is the sigh of his breath, / And with stedfast dejection his eyes are intent/ On the fetters that link him to death”. The convict here is trapped as stated by the fetters but is also is next to death. By linked with the chains, the convict is also linked to death. The poem also points out that, “His bones are consumed, and his life-blood is dried” (l. 21). Again, there is reference to death, specifically pointing out that death is inevitable. There is no hint to life after prison or some sort of spiritual rejuvenation or correction for the convict, only death. There is a reference to a better alternative for convicts other than the systematic grouping of a dead-end life sentence. The last two lines read, “My care, if the arm of the mighty were mine, / Would plant thee where yet thou might’st blossom again” (ll. 51-52). According to the footnotes, the “blossoming again” is in reference to sending prisoners away rather than placing them in prison. The poem is explicit about prison being life draining and dead-end, but there seems to be virtue in being sent away to start again. There is no place for the darkness that is prison, but there is greatness to be experienced outside of inevitable death.

This relates to the painting as there is a clear presence of death in the painting. The dark tones in the painting reflect how prison is depicted. The graves and the church that are shown give an understanding of death, but also life after death or away from death that a convict being sent to Australia could possibly experience. The sentence that a person would receive would be a death sentence but having the opportunity to start over is a new beginning.

—Joseph Rojas

The Light Beneath the Dark

The second image by Casper Friedrich titled the The Abbey in the Oakwood relatively connects with the poem We are Seven by Wordsworth. This poem is generally about the speaker of the poem asking a little girl what she knows about life and death. She then begins to tell him the story of her family, which she frequently repeats that “we are seven” meaning that there are seven sibling in total. The confusion stems from the girl revealing that two of her siblings are dead, causing the speaker to claim that there are only five of them in reality. The image of Friedrich reveals an abandoned graveyard. Dead trees run in between the tombstones, and the color of the image is very dull and grainy giving it that creepy and rustic vibe. Immediately when I saw this image, i thought about this poem because, one of the poems major theme is death. “Two of us in the chur ch-yard lie,

My sister and my brother,

And in the church-yard cottage, I

Dwell near them with my mother”

This quote is said by the little girl in the poem. The girl in this poem seems to be in denial with the death of her two siblings. She refuses to let the grief of to dominate her well being, and accepts the deaths of her members and that things change suddenly. The mood of this poem definitely fits with the picture, in terms of it being almost spooky. We have this little girl telling this man her life story, at a church yard cottage, which I picture to look Friedrichs image. Amongst all the darkness, death, etc., the little girl represents the slight light in the background. Throughout the poem there doesn’t seem to be an ounce of emotion or sadness in the tone of the little girl representing her optimism despite her family’s circumstance. This is what causes the speaker to drop his argument of saying there are only five of them, letting the poem end with the little girl have the last words being “Nay we are seven!”.

-Dariana Lara

 

Death isn’t Death

The painting by Joseph William Turner (1775-1851) Buttermere Lake: A Shower, 1798 I interpret it as We are Seven one of the lyrical ballads by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. What got me to view this painting as the lyrical ballad We are Seven is the reminder that just because someone is claimed by death and there is an understanding of they are not here isn’t entirely true for everyone. In the ballad the young cottage girl insists that she has seven siblings, and while she is questioned where they all are when she explains how “two are gone to sea”. This notion of her siblings being in different areas can be seen in the painting because it looks like there are two people out in the water, which is the two siblings at sea as well as her closeness between her and her mother.

The word death was constantly being used in the ballad, as the little girl insisted she had seven siblings, but the argument that since two have died she had five was interesting. The little girl understood the notion of death as was evident of explaining her two siblings that “in the church-yard lie, my sister and brother”. I feel from the poem that the constant use of the word death wasn’t to emphasize that there used to be seven children rather that there are seven children. The painting showcases this for me because it is represented in the illuminated section, which almost looks like stairs are being formed in the clouds. The two people in the water seem to be heading that way, which for me is the little girl and her mother as they spend most of their time with them, “and in the church-yard cottage, I Dwell near them with my mother”. The little girl seemed to not convey sadness for her two siblings that laid on the ground rather just a different way of interaction, the painting isn’t for me sad. I see it as just like the man not understanding their being seven of them he sees the little girl as not understanding death and feeling sorry for her, but the light and the two people in the middle of the water is for me a significance of being illuminated. Having a happy road ahead despite what others around them might see as sad. This painting for is the little cottage girl screaming “Nay, we are seven” the painting is catching the attention in different areas and trying to see where the eye should land next is how her siblings are; they are all in different areas, but they are all together in the end, the illuminated part of the painting represents all of them. Death doesn’t come in the way of them being siblings therefore it doesn’t come in the way of them being together; she has seven siblings.

  • Maria Mendiola

Reminiscence of Nature and Death

Caspar David Friedrich (1774-1840), The Abby in the Oakwood, 1808-1810

Image result for Caspar David Friedrich (1774-1840), The Abbey in the Oakwood, 1808-1810

 

When one first looks at this picture, we see the sun setting or maybe it raising. There is a sort of loneliness and darkness. Both are expressed by the remnants of what looked like a building and a seemingly black fog. This is an Abby with lone oaks that have passed along the years. However, it can also be seen as fragments of the past and even the future.  The lyrical balled, “The Fountain: A Conversation,” by Willam Wordsworth expresses a nature as a mirror to ourselves and our own conditions (p. 353). The balled’s tone could be interpreted as melancholic. The first couple of stanzas refer to a time of youth when Wordsworth would lay with his friend Matthew, and talk openly about nature. The imitation of sounding like the gurgling lake and “witty rhymes.” He continues to express how, touched as a child he was, by nature his heart stirred and he yearned for the same sound in the present time.

Moreover, he changes his reminiscent childhood memories to the decaying of the body and the wiser mind. He says, “mourn less for what age takes away than what it leaves behind,” the crucial perspective is what is left behind. In other words, Wordsworth is not concerned about the physical and even mental decline of aging. He is more concerned over the people he cares about when he goes away. Nature continues freely, but within society, man is oppressed and even obligated to hide behind the masks of happiness. Therefore, I interpreted this piece as a sort of acceptance of life coming to an end and enjoying the moments and memories with loved ones. Just like this picture, it once was a place that was bright with flourishing oak trees and chirping birds. But, just like everything there is always change that occurs, and nothing lasts forever. However, we can admire the memories of nature as it continues to change.

— Karla Garcia Barrera

The Dead Count Too!

In the poem called “We Are Seven”, which was part of a poetry collection Lyrical Ballads, William Wordsworth describes a story about a man and a little girl discussing the topic of death. The little girl explains to the man that although two of her siblings are dead and only four are alive she still insists( arguing with the man) that she along with her brother and sisters are seven in total. While explaining how important her dead siblings play a role in her life, the little girl states,“Twelve steps or more from my mother’s door, /And they are side by side./My stockings there I often knit, /My kerchief there I hem; /And there upon the ground I sit, /And sing a song to them./And often after sun-set, Sir, /When it is light and fair, /I take my little porringer, /And eat my supper there” (39-48). The little girl informs the man that her deceased siblings are buried just footsteps away from her home and “chills” with them a great amount of time. The little girl is vague on how long she spends time with her dead siblings as it is up to the readers interpretation to decide that. While hanging with them she uses that time on knitting and hemming at their graves even eating supper with them. I feel this stanza of Wordsworth’s poem connects well with the oil painting known as “The Abbey in the Oakwood” in which depicts a graveyard that has very dark chilling atmosphere. There is an old abbey in the center with some figures entering inside of it with a coffin. There are of course crosses and tombstones around the abbey with dead trees making the environment even more spookier looking. Just by this paintings dark tone I feel matches the theme of death in Wordsworth’s poem because both illustrate about how death is portrayed by different people. The little girl portrays death more as another world that people who are living can reach, but can still express how much that loved one means to them. As for the painting, I feel the artist is trying to convey how everything has an end. No matter how much wealth, loved, and power one has everyone was brought in to this world starting off with nothing and leave the world that exact same way. 

-Roger Ortiz

Breaking the Cycle

Death. Decay. Desolation. These are the first words that pop into mind when looking at The Abbey in the Oakwood by Caspar David Friedrich. The trees are solemn with no leaves, there are headstones lined disorderly below them. Yet there is hope and perhaps even beauty in this. There is light above the low dark fog and there is a cross among the stones. While the trees have no leaves, they appear to be standing resilient over the buried. Lastly the arch seems to be just a remnant of a cathedral but is referred to as an abbey in the painting’s title, it is still living in that respect as long as its purpose is not forgotten.

Similar emotions arise when reading through William Wordsworth’s We Are Seven. Both these works of art truly exemplify a very romantic view of death and the possibility of an afterlife. For instance in Wordsworth’s poem it is made apparent that two of the siblings have died and their remains are buried in the churchyard yet the little maid insists that they are still a group of seven which is shown in this stanza,

 “’How many are you, then,” said I,

 “if they two are in heaven?”

 Quick was the little Maid’s reply,

“O Master! We are seven.”’

This is a rejection of death itself, the idea that the dead never truly leave us after their time runs out. This can be compared to the painting in terms of the use of color. The lower regions of the painting are darker, the darkness is closer to the Earth where the dead are buried, but above the color shifts to a lighter yellow hue possibly symbolizing the spirits of the dead living on after they have left physically. The central abbey is in both the light and the darkness which in this case would be the little maid. She has a connection with both worlds exhibited in the painting. This maid has lost her siblings yet can still feel them just as much as she feels the five that are still with her in the moment. So, although an initial instinct when viewing Friedrich’s painting or reading Wordsworth’s poem may be to feel bewildered or even disturbed. Upon closer look both of these works represent the resilience of the human spirit and a hope to break the never-ending cycle of life and death.

  • Evan Klang

Against The Norm

It’s interesting to hear a song based on this story of curse and death that prevails. A heavy metal band such as Iron Maiden would usually be seen as a group of people who are singing very loudly, with a lot of passion. This passion is the same passion that drives the Mariner to continue telling the story, it seems as if this is what’s allowing him to survive, given that he remembers the look of the sailors who died one by one right in front of him. The purpose of his story is to make everyone remember to love what God has created, to take a look around Nature and embrace just that. Because this is the Mariner’s goal, the poem fits the category of Romantic poetry, in fact the Mariner becomes spiritual when speaking on the glory of God, it’s how he’s able to encourage others to seek him through Nature and to thank him for all he’s done.

Iron Maiden’s music is itself a part of Romantics because it often times would be seen as something outside of the “norm” for how it’s the opposite of calm. Specifically with the transitions that were noted in the telling of Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s, “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner,” in terms of the different shifts in volume and beats used all throughout. The music’s escalates and has a shift when we encounter Death and Life in Death who are playing with the souls of the Mariner and sailors, trying to figure out their fate. This shift is something that goes against the norm, the balance that other (boring) music would have, which is the same thing that Romantic work does, it goes against the “order, calm, harmony, balance and rationality.” The art of heavy metal, through Iron Maiden even allows for an understanding of, “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” to become even more clear because of the story-telling manner. It begins and ends with lyrics along the lines of “on and on and on…” which implies that this story will live forever. The Mariner has told the story many times and he will continue to do so, but Iron Maiden also does that by prolonging the song. The song is 13+ minutes long, signifying how long this story would live in for which again goes against one set idea, just like Romantic poetry. And through Iron Maiden, a form of art, we were able to see the story unfold with all the right moments of intensity for what could happen next in the poem/song.

 

-Ruth Serrano

Two Sides of the Same Coin

How is Iron Maiden’s heavy metal version of Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” like or unlike Romantic poetry?  Consider how the poem’s use of lyric speaker, imagery, poetic tone, figurative language, and rhythmic beat resonates with the Iron Maiden music video.  Explain your answer through a focused close reading of the poem and the video.

The original poem is rhythmic with various descriptions of imagery. The language is different than the more modern version of Iron Maiden’s heavy metal version. However, both are examples of romantic poetry in their expression one in music, the other written. Often times, poetry was expressed orally giving the audience a sort of storytelling tones. Within the modern heavy metal version, I was able to feel more emotions through the music. Phrases that were singled out were catchy and interested me.  The pace with climactic instances of the poem was highlighted within the song.

Taylor Coleridge’s poem beings with the descriptions of nature within the mariner’s narration. The sea and the omen of the bird all may signify a greater purpose or message to the audience. The Marnier finds himself the sole survivor and teller- of the misfortune tale. Similarly, Iron Maiden’s song expresses a greater significance taken from the poem: “And the thirst goes on and on for them and me…day after day, day after day, we stuck nor breath nor motion as Idle as a painted ship upon on the ocean…,” thus a rhythm that is relatively repeated, and catchy. Moreover, they include themselves along with the Marnier, “for them and me,” this suffering and emotional devastation is not just the Mariner’s experience, but also related to the audience.

The evocation of God stays within the modern telling of the poem which expresses another meaning. All of God’s creatures and things must be loved and respected. If not, harm befalls those that are involved. We as the audience, also obtain this warning. It is not so much about a warning, but about the transcendence of experience. For my modern interpretation, the journey of our life is the ocean.

  • Karla Garcia Barrera

King of Disaster

(Apess) In his blood is the savage and the master

With abuse of intoxication

In his blood is the King of disaster

Fighting the bloodline of his doubled-nation

Sent to the monkey house to be damaged

Feeling every inch of his body torn apart

He learned to understand faith filled with baggage

In one God, she (Rowlandson) believed in

With acceptance she took her fate

And they grew closer than they had ever been

They had a society in common

His blood and her captors had a reality in common

She insulted what was part of him

He understood the stance against his line

But through the eyes of the beholder

She saw what was needed to be changed

A life worth living, with a God worth believing

Something that they both agreed upon

She is more deserving than he

And as they fear death, they believe in the same God to be called upon

It all started with a set of a different faith and belief

So much difference, so much color

So much faith, so much odor

Even today

Nowadays you’re a felon for wearing a hoodie and walking alone at night

Should we just start roaming the streets naked and cold, no that’s not right

What’s up with this racial divide?

It turns out we’re all the same

Red blooded and still discriminated because of the pronunciation of our names

No one is wrong for who they are

No one is at fault for who they are

Race is a concept made up to define superiority

over someone else’s life

Don’t be blind

-Rosalinda Flores