Monterey 2019

I wander thro’ the busy street of Cannery Row,

Near where the Pacific Ocean does flow.

And mark in every face I meet

Marks of happiness, marks of life.

 

In every step of every Man,

In every Infants curious voice,

In every voice; in every blink

The mind escaped far far away from reality.

 

How the Aquarium revealed the marine life

Every other wall made of see through glass

And the audience full attention taken

Runs through the pure amazement of the captivated sea life.

 

But most through Cannery Row I hear

The shops running and people commenting

Blasts high expectations for the next set of tourists

Who spreads the joys of world’s natural beauty.

-Dariana Lara

 

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Written in Early Spring

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For this post, I decided to use the poem “Lines Written in early Spring” by William Wordsworth to accompany Théodore Gericault’s painting, “Evening: Landscape with an Aqueduct.” For this interpretation, I decided to make the narrator the figure that is sitting down on the rocks, as the second line of the poem states “While in a grove I sate reclined, /”. I had many different interpretations of this poem but the one that stood out the most and made more sense with the painting was the one that stated that early spring was a time to reflect on the experiences we had just passed in the year before that. It was a time where nature was barely blossoming and therefore would enlighten the narrator on some aspect of life. Each line had lots of imagery that went with the painting. Such as the first line, “I heard a thousand blended notes,/” from a musical perspective “blended notes” must sound very beautiful, it means everything comes together to sound very peaceful and put together. Which is what I can imagine when it comes to the painting. The painting also gives off a nostalgic feeling when I look at it, which also goes with the line in the poem “In that sweet mood when pleasant thoughts/ Bring sad thoughts to the mind./” I interpreted this as the day is finally ending, and even though one is still having fun, and the light is still out, soon the darkness will take over and one must be ready to face those bad thoughts that will come right after. It’s a very beautiful play that describes the beauty of nature that many people don’t care or know about.

-Laura Mateo Gallegos

Death and Taxes

Dead trees on top of gravestones, with a degrading abbey parting the painting in the middle. That is; Caspar David Friedrich (1774-1840), The Abbey in the Oakwood, 1808-1810. Just like the little cottage girl’s dead siblings, the headstones are in front of the church;

“Seven boys and girls are we;

Two of us in the church-yard lie,

Beneath the church-yard tree.”

Friedrich’s painting showcases headstones in front of the church.

Now that’s the most obvious comparison, let’s dig deeper. The girl’s ‘rustic, woodland air’ can also be used to describe the painting. It looks like its right next to the forest, but a bomb went off. The smell of the dead trees, the wood overtakes everything. “Till God released her of her Pain”, the painting shows an abbey, where the monks and nuns live and congregate. Of course there is a graveyard, cause where do people go after they die? To heaven, with God. Of course the child negates this, and well believes that her siblings are still alive.

“———A simple Child,

That lightly draws its breath,

And feels its life in every limb,

What should it know of death? “

I found the first stanza possibly the most hard hitting from the poem. What does a child possibly know of death, they are so small, so minuscule, so full of life, how could they know of death. The painting shows a broken down abbey, dead trees, and among them the bodies of the dead. The painting is death incarnate, with the people being processed in the middle. Are us adults any different than children? What do we know about death, anymore than a child does. An adult praying for the soul of deceased family member is no different than a child playing along the tombstones where their sibling is buried. The quote out there exists that you die twice, once when you die, and the other time when your name is last mentioned. Keeping the memories of our deceased, is keeping them alive, with us.

The painting highlights our human understanding of death, the basics, the crude rituals, and it confines it to a small space. The vast, almost limitless top half mocks the bottom half for how claustrophobic it is. Maybe it casts a dark shade over the humans, for their lack of understanding, and their ability to never truly see above the trees into the light. Nature could also be the true winner here, as the abbey (probably once very beautiful) now looks very similar to the trees. Nature laughs at us, and sees our futile attempts to outlive it with buildings and tombstones. Isn’t crazy that the painting is split in half, like how still water gives off a reflection. Do we humans need to reflect on our understanding of death? Of life? Of religion?. Is the painting reflecting the tombstones into the sky? Does heaven exist? Only two things are certain, death and taxes

 

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

Romantic Poetry, Feat. Iron Maiden

Iron Maiden’s rock-and-role rendition of Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s The Rime of the Ancient Mariner keeps this piece of work as classic romantic poetry by keeping the original words and feeling enveloped into it. The song holds a lot of imagery, as well as metaphors to help the listener truly imagine the scene set by Coleridge’s poem.

While Iron Maiden had made the poem into a much more rough-sounding version of the original, it still kept the meaning as a romantic poem, focusing on the hardships of people’s lives instead of the happiness in them. The rock-and-roll version seemed to accentuate this pain that humans go through instead of dull it, as can be seen in the line “The many men, so beautiful! And they all dead did lie.”

Some students and other listeners may disagree that Iron Maiden’s version of Coleridge’s song keeps the poem as a piece of romantic poetry based on the tone that it sets; however, I believe that the deep vibe pulls listeners into this 13-minute song and helps them to imagine the poem in a stronger light.

-Jody Omlin

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner 2.0

If someone were to mention Romanticism poetry and the band Iron Maiden in the same sentence, people would think that person is crazy. What does poetry about “romance” have to do with a heavy metal band? More in common than one would think. Romantic poetry is not really about actual love between two people, it actually has more to do with appreciating the value and beauty of nature as well as expressing feelings and emotions. Which is exactly what is being talked about in Iron Maiden’s “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” which is why I think it would be considered Romantic poetry. It may not be in the most traditional form of poetry, but it could still be considered a sort of homage to the original poem.

One of the main reasons we can say this song is considered Romantic poetry is because of the way the speaker talks about nature. Just like in the original poem, nature is interwoven into the story and there is specific imagery that is used to describe nature, placing special emphasis on it. It also helps that the images use in the lyric video coordinate with the lyrics so that we can actually visualize what is being sung. What is also interesting is the types of images the video uses to describe the lyrics, all the pictures are all pretty dark and they’re not exactly what one would use to explain the lyrics, so that adds to the tone of the song which is already quiet dark and in a way sort of creepy. Another reason is the way the speaker speaks about the mariner, and the feelings that he has as the poem proceeds is definitely like the original, certain feelings in certain verses are elevated to help achieve a certain tone. It’s definitely interesting to see something that would be considered very old be brought back to life, in a new more modern form of art. It goes to show how amazing it is to keep interest in forms of art alive.

-Laura Mateo Gallegos

Poetry Rock

Poetry are words that influence how someone feels, in this case music has a way of being more powerful especially the beat that it is sung in. The Rime of the Ancient Mariner seems to tell a story and in the story there is a lot of passion that comes from it.

There is a lot of imagery in it, there are a lot descriptions of the scenery or situation. Like when it says “Sinks down like lead into the sea then down in falls comes the rain”, this is one of many examples. It gives the readers a good understanding of what is happening, listening to it coming from what sounds like a very distressed individual. Both, being able to listen and being able to imagine what is happening, causes the listeners to hear the pure suffering and inner conflict they were feeling.

Although, it may not be written and just spoken or read, it is still romantic poetry. It talks about the sufferings and vulnerability that people go through, it even has a lesson learned. Poems tell a story, they even tell the purpose of the writing and this ones was “that we must love all things that God made”. This is what romantic poetry is all about. The poem being sung has not changed it, if anything it has made it better, writing and poetry is about creativity and this is what has been done.

Having the poem sung by Iron Maiden has made a way of emphasizing everything in a romantic poem, the fact that it is being sung in rock only emphasizes the main things about romantic poetry with the loud, powerful voices being used and the intense music. It makes the listener sympathize towards the singer and the situation they are in.

Sandy Morelos

Pasadena, 2017

While I mostly reside in East Los Angeles area, my higher education brought me close to Pasadena; a city that truly holds history, charm, and plenty of old money. I tie this to Wordsworth’s London because it is a city that is starting to get out of control with all of the luxury condos being built and expensive shops like Tiffany and Co., and Tesla, and Apple. Despite the city being a suburb northeast of downtown Los Angeles, homelessness holds a strong foot at many of the lavish retailers that line Colorado Boulevard. Home to Cal Tech, the Norton Simon museum, Neighboring city to NASA JPL, the famous Rose Parade, and the Rose Bowl where the UCLA Bruins play and famous people like Beyoncé perform, are some of the many attractions Pasadena boasts. To me, I have always felt like an outsider when I first would step foot in the city because I commuted in from the rougher Los Angeles area, El Sereno.  To us, it is seen as the close Oasis, and the first real city with white people that drive expensive cars. With that, I express a poem which I free write as I feel it more accurately captures what I felt: overwhelmed, intimidated, inferior, exposed, opportunity, foreign.

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Delightful roses blooming and growing

A record-breaking crowd, flowers they’re throwing

A city dazzling, camera ready, and made to impress

The husband wears a suit, and the wife wears a dress

Not a single dispute with their teen kids that memorable day

because after all, it’s the famous Rose Parade

A day has passed– with smiles and laughs…

now it’s up to someone to clean up this trash

filth is picked up by city workers with tans

The homeless fight one another off for the bottles and cans

Understand, it’s ok because these people have no significance

It sounds ridiculous, but it’s ok because our record sales are killing it

 

-Daniel Estrada

 

Life of a Man

There was a man who walked about in a mantle of gold

His life seemed bright and enchanting at most

Till he decided to go forth and be bold

But here is the truth, many people should not boast

 

He lost it all the house, the boat, the greens

His wife and kids left before the scandal hit

That he had hit the streets and traded in gold for beans

Yet this small portion of food could not just fill his pit

 

He told himself he was camping just for a day or two

He would go home in time and everything would be forgotten

His home slowly turned into that big tent of blue

However his life of luxury had by someone been bought-en

 

He slunk away into his poorly lit house tears dripping

His face forgotten lost to all who stared at him

Meanwhile those others sit there in greatness sipping

Letting him rot away and waste the life he once had.

 

For this blog post I decided to think about the poor neighborhoods in Los Angeles and talk about the people who have been forgotten. The homeless have become such a big important part of Los Angeles that they seem to be just an object. They are no longer people who probably have backstory to the moment in time that got them there. I wanted to created a short poem detailing the life of a very expensive man who all of a sudden out of a twist in fate has lost everything. I followed the rhyme scheme in William Blake’s poem, London, so that there can be some sort of commonality. However the last line did not follow the rhyme scheme because I wanted to show that eventually when your life has come to the situations that have brought people to their lowest, there almost feels to be a pointlessness to following the rules. This man had it all and in a split second loses everything. In another line there is a made up word “bought-en” one it was meant to fit in the scheme of the rhyme but it also helps to serve the losing mentality that this person is going through. Through the poverty they start becoming this nothingness that people cannot seem to fit. It all goes back to major changes in employment and the decisions that jobs take into firing their staff.

-Alexis Blanco

 

Winton (The Dead Town)

I found inspiration through William Blake’s “London”, because of how he described the negative aspects of London. He depicts London as this ashy covered place full of sorrow. He depicts how the people still carry on with their everyday lives as if everything is okay and as it should be. Blake is also able to depict how dead London is through his words: hearses, blood walls, and plagues. It reminded me of my small town because it is not the best place. It is ridiculous how you can see the shift from the other town to mine all by crossing the train tracks. No one knows about my town except for those who grew up in Merced and those who do see the negative aspects such as the shootings, teen pregnancies, and drug abuse.

 

Town or city one does not really know,

Every place has that area one does not go.

For Winton that place is everywhere the wind can blow,

Everyone has a problem or two that brings the woe.

 

Those on California street always have an uncertain fate,

Mostly known for its acts of violence and nothing more.

The teens receive that, I think I’m late text for not wearing that late-x

An infant is brought into the world to suffer as the teen mom goes through the hospital door.

 

Everyone walks with their head down

Choosing not to look around.

Drug use is evident in most kids and adults in the town

Hardly a kid that is college bound

 

The people no longer love thy neighbor but despise,

The streets are pooled with blood

At night, I hear their cries aimed at the skies.

All google searches of Winton show how a bullet met flesh with a thud.

– Andres Quezada