For Thomas and Emmalee

By Christopher Ingle

Inspired by William Wordsworth’s “We are seven” and “The Mad Mother”

For Thomas and Emmalee

Every Sunday, since years gone by

I have taken to stroll through the local wood.

A chance to be among the earth and sky

To contemplate life like a good boy should.


I found my way to my favorite spot

a willow that would never die.

Its branches invited deeper thought

To existential questions, like “why”?


When as I came upon my willow green

I saw a mother resting beneath its grace.

Along her side was a boy, so clean

And a smile of contentment upon both their face.


She had a lunch sack in her hand

Her child was holding one as well.

But a third was sitting on the tree so tanned…

It was a chicken lunch I could smell.


I asked the mother “how do you do?”

She simply nodded back.

Her smile increased as her child did chew

From the lunch within his sack.


I asked the mother if she was waiting

For her husband or a friend.

She said that she was celebrating

But an invitation to sit she did extend.


I sat up upon the grassy knoll

Besides the mother fair.

Her clothes were that of someone prole

Except for the flowers within her hair.


I asked her what the occasion might be

For her to come this way

To spend her time beneath this tree

On such a wonderful Spring day.


“It is the twins’ birthday” she said

With confidence and pride

As she stroked her child’s auburn hair

Her brushes were long and wide.


“So where is the child’s other half

On this day of their birth?”

She looked at me and did simply laugh

“She is resting within the earth”


“But she is here right now you see,

and Beside me everyday

she plays with us and joins for tea

she is alive in every way.”


“I am both a mom of two and one

And that I shall always be

For both my daughter and my son

Sit for lunch with me”


“Forgive me for I do not get

How you can be a mom of two

I do not attempt to beset

With a topic that’s so blue”


“I carried two, and only they

Who sit beside us now

Call me mom and then they play

Underneath this lovely bough.”


“But ma’am forgive me as I ask

If your other child’s time is done,”

I took a swig from my water flask

And said “you are a mom of one”


I expected her to shriek with anger

And destroy me in her wake

But she made no such fraughtful clangor

Nor did she even shake.


She simply looked upon my face

With contentment and with certain glee

With no hesitation and god’s good grace

She said “sir….yes indeed”


“I am both a mom of one

And a mom of two,

this is fact, and now we’re done

on this is need not review”


But anger I still did not see

Upon her lovely smile

Her child stood up with baited glee

For they had been sitting for quite a while.


The mother placed her lovely child

Inside a stroller made for two

The mother and son were so beguiled

As the little one kicked off a shoe.


As they began to walk away

I noticed they had left behind

The untouched bag lunch of the day

On the bag a name was signed.


“Mary” it said carefully written

Upon the bag in pencil black

Inside was some crispy chicken

But something else took me aback.


Two notes were found inside this meal

Folded in half and again in two

Beneath the tree I started to kneel

And read the notes, honest and true.


The first said “To whom may find this”

And I opened up the note

My tears I could not dismiss

And now the letter I did quote:


“Remember my sweet lovely Mary

Though she left us far too soon

Hug your child and be merry

For from time we are not immune.


Remember my daughter as I do now

A child of love and grace.

Beneath this tree and its flowing bough

I ask you think of her face”


Inside the other note you see

was a drawing of a girl

and tapped to it were pictures three,

more tears began to unfurl.


They were pictures of lovely Mary

Auburn hair and a flowy dress

She was happy, innocent and airy,

My own feelings I began to assess.


The meaning of life is not defined

By such things as current existence

But by the memories we hold, forget,…. and find

They never die with time and distance.


I was wrong when I said that mother she

Was only a mother of only one

For two she has, and two they be

This can be seen by anyone.


This poem is a personal story. Not my story. But an amalgamation of many women’s stories. Each of these women each lost a young child in their lives. As a father, when I first read “We are seven”, I was inspired. The story reminded me of a blog post I read years ago from one of these women. As she was going through the process of grieving, she asked herself how she was going to go from being a mom of two to a mom of one. She realized that she will always be a mom of two. I was then reminded of “The Mad Mother” who would not let go of the idea of being a mother with a child, even when the child is clearly dead in her arms. Though I did not bring it to that extent, I wanted that idea that a mother never forgets her child to be present. I believe that death does not define existence, but life does. Existence is much more than a physical, living body. It is the memory of that person, that can live on far beyond the passing of the body. We see this everyday in literature. The writers we read that have long past still exist with us because we get to read their thoughts, their experiences, their emotions through the page. It is the legacy and the true meaning of our lives here on this planet. It is to help change the world into a better place. We do that through our actions, and people remember us for those actions and are inspired to do the same. Legacy is what it is all about. When I interviewed all these mothers, the common theme they spoke about was remembering their child always. They wanted to remember, they want others to remember. They want to talk about it. Not all women do or are ready to talk about it. It is very difficult to lose a child, much less for me, a man, to tell a woman’s story. I can never love that child the way they do. But as a father of two girls, I hope I at least got a glimpse into that.

As for the correlations between the inspirations and the creation. I was clearly inspired by Wordsworths “We are seven” and “The Mad Mother”. I liked the lyrical nature of “7” but I liked the mother’s perspective from “Mad Mother”. I wanted to tell a combined story of Mom’s today who have lost a child, and how they view themselves. I also wanted a reflection by someone not the mother, as that is something we do not get in either poem. I also had this poem take place in the middle of nature, beneath a willow tree. Willow trees are often seen as comforting, secure trees. There branches reach down to the ground, almost as if they are covering or protecting those that sit beneath it, kind of like a mother and child. I didn’t want to focus on the innocence of the child in We are 7 as I didn’t originally interpret that poem that way. I saw the child as confident and wiser than the man asking her the questions. She knew her answers and saw the world better than we see it. I also did not want a mad angle from the “Mad mother”. I wanted to portray a woman who celebrated her child and acknowledged the existence, even though it wasn’t physically there.

The Rime of the Stubborn Procrastinator

It is a stubborn procrastinator

Of course, he is up late

Beard overgrown, hair a mess he looks up

Why does he stay up so late, why take the bait.


The classroom’ doors are spread wide open

My test is to be turned in

A line forms to turn in papers

The stubborn procrastinator walks in, his paper next of kin.


In his crusty, bloodshot eye he holds…

The rest of the class go about their day

No one notices, no one cares of the message he beholds

But you, you take a look into those eyes that have turned glazed


The student was excited, glee filled his eyes

One chapter ended and a new one was about to begin

School hasn’t  been a breeze for him, not so easy

Being brought up with good morals, patience and discipline.


Sacrifice and determination got him here from high school to university

He was no strangers to late nights, even then

A heavy curse inflicted on him, where all his work is done last second

And now the curse is back, it is here again.


The constant view into his eyes, piercing like mirrors

All of a sudden, you become him

And you remember all of the past events that led you there.

Clear as day, even at night, the picture is not so dim.


And now the RESEARCH – PAPER  came, and he

Was weak-willed he knew it was going to take a night long.

He was struck no desire to write anytime before the night before

And waited for the day to come along, how wrong.


The stubbornness was here, the stubbornness was there,

The stubbornness was all around:

It cracked and hissed, and growled and kissed

Like roots growing in the ground


With stubbornness breeds ignorance, and impotence

There is time for the gym, time for a few youtube videos

Even time for some video games, and Netflix

Look upon this throne of disruptions he bestows.


At length did cross a DISTRACTION for our little student

Through the nothingness it came out, reaching out towards them

As if it had been a hand trying to grab our little student

We cursed it, yet became enthralled by it’s over looming presence.


Our direction became misguided, our attention diverted from the research paper

Now it was going towards the DISTRACTION and we were falling headfirst

In our heads we knew that we would write the paper, just not now

First comes the distraction, then the paper, but now quench this thirst.


I was having fun, completely ignoring my paper.

It was always on my mind, leeching onto the back of my brain

I knew I had to stop soon, opportunities like this would be seldom

Sweat wiped my eyes, like rain



From the disruptions that plague universities

Why thou look anywhere else but myself?



I looked upon the ticking time

And my eyes darted from side to side

I looked upon my research paper

With nothing done I knew I was in for a ride


Yet I finished of course, on time.

I wear this curse on my neck

Its me in my prime

I need to look at myself, give myself a good check

Reflection: Like many others I assume, I wanted to modernize Wordsworth’s “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner”. I settled for my version to captivate not only a modern audience, but an immediate audience. This is a poem that many students, including myself can relate to. It has to deal with the typical university student who procrastinates their assignments last second.

I gave the ‘Stubborn Procrastinator’ a persona, I gave it a picture people can see. While many may not immediately want to be compared to someone as ugly as that, they will later see that they aren’t that different. I feel that if I gave the ‘Stubborn Procrastinator’ it gave the poem a sense of immediacy, and made it almost more intimate, There is a character we can connect the poem right from the beginning. There is another unspoken character who observes the procrastinator in the classroom, and not much is given about this character, because it’s supposed to be in the perspective of the reader. Just like the reader, this unspoken character looks at the ‘Stubborn Procrastinator’s” eyes and then observes their perspective. The whole point was to blur the lines between whose perspectives we were switching from and to. Both the unspoken person, and the ‘Stubborn Procrastinator” are supposed to be the same person. With, hopefully, the reader finding themselves part of it too. The poem was to highlight just the number of students who are indeed procrastinators themselves, and meant to highlight their struggles in the university setting. In a parody attempt there are stanzas that are very similar to Wordsworth’s own lines, in order to see the connection in both poems. This poem is a parody, the Albatross instead of leading towards clearer waters, instead leads our reader towards more distractions. And while death isn’t present, we know from Wordsworth Version that it is coming, and while it’s not here, time is the lurking danger. We know it’s bound to come, and it will always affect our protagonist in their journey to finish at the last second.

  • Robert Morales

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

An Imitation of Wordsworth

An imitation of William Wordsworth: “Left upon a seat in a yew-tree, which stands near the Lake of Esthwaite” (from the Lyrical Ballads 1802 Volume One):

Left upon a pine tree in South Sacramento 

 — Nay, Wanderer! Chill. This fresh, wise pine tree stands

amidst a community, amongst all human dwelling;

what if here

no reflecting bodies of water

no lakes and canals to spread green grass or

fresh water to reflect the moonlight each Full Moon

what if here

there was no

sunflowers for the bees to Love

or no bees to inhabit Mother Earth we share;


a child of God

finding paradise on Earth, from nothing and everything

to be nothing and everything

the Light in my mind’s eye,

an awakening to see clearly

to see that Life is the real Dream,

your dreams in the astral realm hold

secrets to your soul’s codes;

Mother Earth is alive, God never died

Spirit alive through the trees, the roses and the Sun too.

Your ancestors pull themselves closer

Through the wind,

A chill down your spine

On the windiest days

Winds of change and winds of warnings.

Warnings of Massive Change.

Enough change to shake up the collective human consciousness,

a burst, propelling Force; moving us Forward —

Spirit in the gravity too.


———- Who She was. She

started a fire, and danced with the aging trees

Now Free, to bend arms and hips,

to twist her hair, chant and dance under the moonlight.

She started a fire. I well remember. – She was one who

owned an ancient soul, an uncommon soul.

A beckon of Light that belonged to God; Christ-like; She too

sent to the Darkest places; to heal the lost and the helpless.


a young child; trauma tossed and turned; a paranoid, bipolar and psycho

or a perfectly insane genius.

mysterious brown eyes to fill secrets; reflect a dreaming glare

to play the role she signed her Soul to.

Lioness moves forward; Pure in the Heart.

A Blade for a Spirit.

The world is cold,

cycles of greed and violence,

cycles repeated, karmic debt on a loop,

karma dismissed and karma ignored,

Spirit is All Knowing

Mother Earth is Alive.

And the Light was reborn

Through bursts of DNA,

The Light now deadly too.

Spiritual warfare,

we’ve been fighting since the beginning of Time


her Soul relearning mindfulness,

through her avatar’s conscious meditation.

In solitude. – Stranger! These gloomy clouds

Hold messages and codes for her; Here she loves to sit,

She has many visitors.

She loves Earth so Earth loves her.

A hummingbird, a black cat, a lizard,

a dog, a horse, a baby scorpion, and a snake –

She has many visitors.

Living an unfruitful life, she made the conscious decision

to start again, so she burned herself, her home and

everything she has ever known.


She gave herself back to God,

Her Spirit was reborn to assist the Light.

A near-death experience, a blessing or a fated destiny.

Lifting up her head, she would gaze again

at the fresh, green forest scenery.

To see that Life is the real Dream.

Silence in the trees and in the wind.

A Calmness that brings her back,

to see all that Just Is.

Nature is healing, Nature is Godly.

Admiring Mother Earth and all her features.

Our Creator’s creation, that provides us

with water, fresh air and all the tools to survive on this planet.


Healing trauma, rewriting DNA

Restoring imagination to child-like purity.

An Artist like how She used to be –

In God’s kingdom. We are all Artists.

Wordsworth commanding the reader

to understand,

true knowledge leads to love,

true dignity with Her alone,

in the silence of heavy thought,

Can still suspect, and still revere herself,

In Free Spirit, In Pure Full Heart. B.B. 22.

  • Brianna Barajas 


In this literary piece, I provide a modern day imitation of William Wordsworth “Left upon a seat in a yew-tree” from the Lyrical Ballads 1802 Volume One. I focus on Wordsworth’s style of writing as a romantic poet who heavily stresses on Nature. This style of writing honors Nature and perceives Nature as a sacred space. In this imitation, I connect nature to ancient indigenous traditions of experiencing God through Nature. I describe spiritual philosophy through imagery and mysticism, as I ponder on the same stillness and silence that Wordsworth finds in Nature through his poetry. While writing this poem, I realized I could not write it indoors. Through this creative writing project, I realized romantic poetry written correctly – must be done outdoors in Nature. Romantic poetry also requires mindfulness and meditation. As a reader and as a writer, there is an urgency of meditation in the mind that requires concentration and focus. The romantic poet teaches us how to familiarize ourselves with the mind element of our overall mind, body and spirit connection. In holistic healing practices, mindfulness is a key quality to recovering from trauma and addictions. And through this experience, I realized the romantic poets were trying to connect the collective human consciousness back to their spirits. Considering all the greed and violence occurring in the world at the time Romantic poetry came to life–  I realize the Romantic Poets were fulfilling their individual Soul purpose. We all have our own soul, and many may wander lost without knowing it. Romantic poetry was so influential and it remains difficult to imitate. I am a poet and a shaman so I was able to mediate and practice mindfulness before and during my writing process. I meditated and fasted to attempt a similar outcome as Wordsworth and many other Romantic Poets as I created this imitation piece.




Los Angeles (Any City) 2019

A tribute to William Wordsworth’s “London 1802”:

Women! You shouldn’t be out at this hour:

The World is too dark and dangerous: and he is out

Causing misery and pain: “it’s your fault”,

They’ll say, no questions asked whatsoever,

You have forfeited your personal rights

Of inward happiness. They are selfish men;

Oh! “She was asking for it,” “did you see what

She was wearing?”; it all comes with a price.

First teach them manners, virtue, courage,

And then, power.

Thy soul was like a bright Star, now broken and burnt out:

Thou haven’t a voice to make noise or speak up:

No longer pure as the naked heavens, or majestic,

It was never even free.

So this is the way we must live our lives,

In in uncheerful frighten godliness; and yet their hearts

Sleep and live in peace, no regrets.


-Laura Mateo Gallegos

Merced, 2019: Turmoil within a Divided Nation

Samantha Shapiro

(UC) Merced, 2019 – Based on London, 1802 by William Wordsworth

From Project Gutenberg (1)




Wordsworth! thou are not living at this time:
Merced is in need of thee: she is a lost
In stagnant swamps: undrained, lied-to and double-crossed,
Wildfires, ignited populace at its prime,
Rain through student belief in a torrential shower
Of hopeful change. We are selfish men;
Oh! raise us up in your words, return to us again;
And expose the answers we seek through political power
Thy soul was like a Star, and dwelt apart:
Thou hadst art whose sound was like the sea:
Pure as the naked heavens, majestic, free,
And as you travelled on life’s common way,
Divided as us, though to impart
The questions that we have today.

Picture of Merced Main Street (2)

  1. Picture from
  2. Picture from


Merced, 2019

A parody of “London, 1802” by William Wordsworth

Students! thou shouldst be lit-eth at this hour:
the squad hath need of thee: she is turnt up
Of stagnant fields: livestock, orchards, and lack of financial aid,
countryside, the grand image of education and honor,
Have transformed from quaint and charming to endless squalor
Of inward suffering We are struggling fam;
Oh! raise it up, pour your espresso shots again;
And give us parties, fame, memes, selfies.
Thy soul was like a flame, and choked out by deadlines:
Thou heard a voice whose sound was okrrrt:
Dank as the naked heavens, majestic, Cardi B,
Thou did travel on life’s common way,
Toward educational delight; and yet thy squad
The lowliest moods on herself did feel.

Get that bread. Wipe your tears with your degree later.

-Asia Reyna

It’s a Mad World

In “The Mad Mother” by Wordsworth, the poem depicts a mother who is admittedly on the brink of insanity. Her only saving grace is the purity and love of her baby. Her husband is not attentive, if present at all, and she is considered mad by all those around her. The poem reads with a heavy air of isolation and depression, though every statement about her sun is like a little light of hope. Joseph William Turner’s “Buttermere Lake: A Shower” uses dark and muted colors for most of his painting. The dark theme is not eerie but rather dreary. There is a lone figure in the lake and in one of the further focal points of the piece, the artist utilizes light and depth with a soft arc ascending from around the lake’s bend. I think this painting is a good visual representation for the woman’s dark mentality. I would go as far as to say that the woman may have suffered mental illnesses in this piece. Depression, PTSD, or perhaps schizophrenia (when she speaks of the “wicked faces” and “fire once in [her] brain”) may be involved in her life.The way she speaks about how she was happy once, scorned at other times and has lost much joy by the time her son is born speaks volumes about potential depressive episodes she may have encountered through her life. The discord she suffers through is recurring, enough to have her labeled as mad and inconvenient enough to push others away. The romanticism, I think, is found in the way that this baby is enough to cease the madness, if only for a while. As mental illnesses are still not fully understood to this day, the era in which this was written would have been a strong romanticism thing. Clearly, she is an outcast but the romance theme of it all is strength in solitude, strength as a woman, and the love and emotions of a mother and her child.

-Asia Reyna

Necessary Darkness

I used Joseph William Turner’s work, Buttermere Lake : A Shower, as a lens for William Wordsworth’s “We Are Seven”. The painting is a very dark work with one single streak or center of light, which could be described as a rainbow. There is what seems to be a man on a boat in a vast lake, seeming to go toward the light. The poem tells of an encounter between what I would believe to be an older man and a young cottage girl. The conversation revolves around the number of siblings the girl has. When she divulges two have passed, the man states that there are only five than and she still adamantly states that in total there are seven. The first stanza of the poem begins quite shakily,

A simple Child,
That lightly draws its breath,
And feels it’s life in every limb,
What should it know of death?

In the painting we get a sense of mystery and trepidation of what is to come. Something very similar can be felt while reading the first stanza. The very first line is incomplete, almost like as if the narrator took a breath between stanzas. Was he convincing himself that the small child was not to be feared, that she was the light within the darkness that is death? I believe so, it almost seemed that the child left him in shock. He also described her as rustic and had very fair eyes. Much like the man in the boat, it almost seems that narrator took a moment to embrace the lightness the little maid had within her.
The poem is set in a graveyard, a place that can generally be considered dark and sad. Turner’s painting is quite dark, although not sad, it feels quite serious. The beacon of light, or rainbow is what seems to give the man in the boat a purpose and or hope; and it gives us the viewers a sense of tranquility.

Wordsworth’s poem is dark and serious, the little girl is physically alone, she has lost two of her siblings. Her mother is not present, she even foreshadows a possibility of her brother John having been murdered. Yet, her presence is light and happy, she seemingly embodies the ray of light that is in Turner’s art work. Although she is light, she has required of that darkness to be who she is, that is why she embraces her siblings and refers to them as being present. The light in Buttermere Lake would not be as beautiful or as valued if it was not surrrounded by the darkness in the painting.

Sabrina Vazquez

A Spark of Light in a Sea of Darkness

The painting that I believe best resembles William Wordsworth’s poem, “We Are Seven,” would be Caspar David Friedrich’s painting, “The Monk by the Sea.” The girl in the poem is presented as a very lonely character, but tells the narrator multiple times that “How many? Seven in all,” and repeatedly states that her family consists of seven other people. Despite being separated from her siblings, with two of them dead, two at Conway, and two at sea, she insists that they are all together. I felt that the image of a monk standing by the sea and looking out at it represented the current state of the girl as a very isolated individual looking off towards the horizon and waiting for her family. The dark, cloudy horizon could be seen as representative of the death of her siblings, Jane and John. The mention from the girl that “Their graves are green, they may be seen,” may indicate not just that the graves are new, but that the poem is taking place in spring and given the details of the grass being dry when her sister Jane died and there was snow when her brother died, it can be assumed that they recently in autumn and winter. This detail of seasons could indicate that the girl could be the next in her family to die as the poem does describe her as,

“A simple Child,

That lightly draws its breath,

And feels its life in every limb,

What should it know of death?”

suggesting that she is frail or weakened. Perhaps then the small sliver of the sun appearing over the clouds in Friedrich’s painting along with the darker colors fading off away from the shore could be seen as the light of heaven coming to claim her. The painting doesn’t provide a strong sense of sadness to me, but rather provides a sense of anticipation for what could be on the horizon as the storm starts to move away. Though the monk is seen alone on the sandy, rocky shoreline, it isn’t known what is behind him and what that environment looks like, similar to the reader not knowing what the girl’s life is like away from this church other than that she lives with her mother in a small cottage. Though both the girl and the monk have survived recent events in their lives, with seemingly very little left for each of them besides their faith, the question of what happens next remains unknown.

-Ryan Bucher