The half-stripped trees
struck by a wind together,
the leaves flutter drily
and refuse to let go
or driven like hail
stream bitterly out to one side
where the salvias, hard carmine,—
like no leaf that ever was—
edge the bare garden.
Monday is the last week of school. My seniors are already done with their finals and have vamoosed. There is an empty spot in my schedule, and in my teacher’s heart. I so enjoy my AP Lit classes. I hope they remember the stuff I taught them or attempted to teach them when they are sitting in their university lecture halls.
This week the sophomores take their finals. They will be tested on their knowledge of Julius Caesar, the last unit of their tenth grade English. For the most part they enjoyed learning about this important Rome leader. They still have misconceptions about him though–such as him being the inventor of s salad. They were amazed July is named after him.
Some complained about how much history goes with English literature. One influences the other, is what I tell them. They still grumble.
My one another AP class, my AP Language, affectionately known as Langsters, will be presenting their Senior Project Starters this week as their final. Most will be moving on to AP Lit, so not too much sadness, although they did make my first year of teaching AP Language quite enjoyable. Juniors are done with underclassmen drama, aren’t infected with Senioritis, and realized that with a wee bit more effort it’s possible to get great SAT scores which can open doors to desired colleges.
After June 12th I’m free to get back to “me” pursuits, such as reading books, instead of essays. I also hope to finish up a YA novel I started (about five years ago). It’s tough finding time to write as a teacher.
Surprisingly enough, I’m on the short list to teach creative writing second semester. It’s been about four years, so I’m brushing off some of my lesson plans. One them involves parody writing. Tell me what you think:
“Imitation is the best form of compliment” or so they say. A Parody Poem emulates or copies a known style of poet. Special attention is paid to tone, diction, rhythm, meter—basically getting the poet’s style so that it is recognizable.
Here are some parody poems using the famous “Purple Cow” poem:
A Purple Cow (reading by Stuart S.)
by Gelett Burgess
I never saw a Purple Cow,
I never hope to see one;
But I can tell you, anyhow,
I’d rather see than be one.
And here are the parodies:
Edgar Allen Poe
Parody by Susan and David Hollander
One lonely, gloomy, windswept eve
A mournful sound did I perceive.
I cast my eyes beyond the pane
And to my horror down the lane
Came a sight; I froze inside
A spectral cow with purple hide.
Parody by Susan and David Hollander
On far off hills
And distant rills,
Sounds a distant moo.
A purple spot
I think I caught,
Yes! I see it, too!
In Bovine majesty she stands,
Her purple tail she swings,
The amethyst cow,
To my heart somehow,
Perfect joy she brings.
And yet the thought of being
Of that race of royal hue,
Though glowing like the violet sweet,
It really would not do
by C. Muse
Who cares about greens eggs and ham?
I like cows.
I like cows here and now.
I like cows and their moo.
Do you like cows?
You like them, too?
I like cows brown or black and white.
A purple cow?
I think not.
That can’t be right.
Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art so lovely, as thou eats hay.
Gentle creature, thou shows its color true,
Of thy hide of which you are adorned
A rich amethyst, a most unexpected hue.
Some may give shriek and others scorn
Yet, it matters not, thou still dost moo.
So long as all can breathe and see,
So all appreciate the purple cow that is thee.
Just a wee past Valentine’s Day, yet I thought I would let all the mush bucket poetry have its spotlight. I offer up Yeats for February:
O cloud-pale eyelids, dream-dimmed eyes,
The poets labouring all their days
To build a perfect beauty in rhyme
Are overthrown by a woman’s gaze
And by the unlabouring brood of the skies:
And therefore my heart will bow, when dew
Is dropping sleep, until God burn time,
Before the unlabouring stars and you.
This is oh so Thoreau. The way he observes nature, breaking the whole into bits without dissembling the phenomena.
Mist by Henry David Thoreau
Fountain-head and source of rivers,
And napkin spread by fays;
Drifting meadow of the air,
Where bloom the daisied banks and violets,
And in whose fenny labyrinth
The bittern booms and heron wades;
Spirit of lakes and seas and rivers,—
Bear only perfumes and the scent
Of healing herbs to just men’s fields.
I’m not aware of any other literary celebrity whose birth and death dates are the same day. That just Billy the Bard even more special, doesn’t it? This year is being touted as the Shakesyear, due to the span of 400 years of celebrating his influence since his death in 1616. I certainly couldn’t let National Poetry Month slip by without celebrating Shakespeare on his birthday. Here is one of my favorite sonnets:
Just what are the uses for poetry? I was hoping a sage, classic poet master like William Carlos Williams has the answer. After reading his poem I have more questions than answers.
I’ve fond anticipation of a day O’erfilled with pure diversion presently, For I must read a lady poesy The while we glide by many a leafy bay, Hid deep in rushes, where at random play The glossy black winged May-flies, or whence flee Hush-throated nestlings in alarm, Whom we have idly frighted with our boat’s long sway. For, lest o’ersaddened by such woes as spring To rural peace from our meek onward trend, What else more fit? We’ll draw the latch-string And close the door of sense; then satiate wend, On poesy’s transforming giant wing, To worlds afar whose fruits all anguish mend.