The Dungeon Reprise
This is the place of opportunity?
The place that our fathers fought for
A beast now
They fought for this, sacrificed the blood that runs in their veins for this,
For the right to stand alone and empowered, our land is a beast
What has it become, telling its brother it hates him?
Looking at him, seeing himself, and turning away
Rearing its head to hate, to injustice,
Our land in unrecognizable, the face of every injustice committed,
Laid bare on the flesh of cheeks and spread across palms,
Every time dark skin was a crime, or the feminine, or love,
I know this wasn’t how it was supposed to be
But it’s cold, now, too late, too close to the end
The evil cuts our breath short, silences
Grinding shrieks are a world controlled by capitalism and fueled by fear
Afraid of what we don’t know, afraid of a veiled face but not a gun,
We are so afraid so angry
So we try to cover it up, so we blame, so we don’t look at each other
We are trapped,
There is only justice through the pure
the innocence of what cannot be blamed
the unblemished face of nature
Nature, be like fire, burning away
things that make this world a dungeon, set afire
the darkness in our hearts
the corrupt nature of our very being
nature, pristine in its hearth, set atop as on pedestals
to understand the deep connection of man as nature
as pieces, as atoms, as roots and stardust
as free flowing eternity is to escape our dungeon
A letter to my readers,
My initial love of the poem “The Dungeon”, a lyrical ballad, came from the way in which it captured critically, a world of evil and corruption, but also almost in paradox, presented this solution of sorts. The beauty and perfection of nature as a sort of link to original man, and to a sort of savior and rebirth. I found this idea both inspiring and transcendent. Staring off, I knew I wanted to write a poem which gave nods to these themes outright. I wanted to give nod to the Romantic era theme which captured that disdain over the ever-growing industrialization poisoning the world, as well as that nostalgic admiration of nature. I wrote my poem with this theme in mind, but instead pointed by critique, at the injustice and inequality which hampers our world today, and how that incredible human link with nature, of us as a part of nature, is so transcendent that it surpasses the evils and transgressions of this world.
Stylistically, I did mimic the poem’s structure of 19 and 11 lines for the two stanzas respectively. I also noticed the lack of true and hard rhyme or structure. The lines flowed without barrier and is the message was meant to be hard hitting and direct. I wrote with the same sort of varying line length and wrote in a way that when read sounds less structured and more of an impassioned cry or prayer. I felt that this was what the original poem was intending to sound like. A sort of cry to the world and to nature. I also noted the use of alliteration in sounds, or first letters to add emphasis. As a nod to this, I also used alliteration but uses parallel sentence frames instead. By this I mean instead of saying “Smooth, Seared…” I used This … This…” I thought personally this would sound similar but give my poem a unique touch.
I also noticed the imagery in the first half of the poem being that critical, sort of personifies and complicated picture of the land, while the second became a sort of call for help to nature. The images in the first stanza were dark in comparison to the beautiful nature images in the second stanza. I mimicked this in my own version of this poem and created by own sort of personified “beast” and “savior” nature. I did intend also to keep my images also relating to the themes of evil, poverty, injustice, as the original poem did. I also tried to reflect the way in which the images are obscure but loaded with deeper context. I tried to highlight different issues in our society through subtle but daring images.
I felt overall that this project opened by eyes to the amount of detail it requires to craft a poem so striking and poignant. Every element points to a theme or to a larger image in a sort of totalitarian writing style. Every word is chosen so carefully and comes packed with little meaning that so differently can affect interpretation. This assignment has really exposed me to the tedious details that it takes to create this sort of art.