Friday, August 28, 2015

Rousing early I rise

In the senior American literature class that I'm teaching, we've been reading portions of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's arguably most famous work, The Song of Hiawatha. Largely and loosely based Indian stories and lore, this epic poem is written in unrhymed trochaic tetrameter, an unusual meter for English-language poetry. Because my students seemed not to appreciate the metrics of the poem, I decided to have a little fun and have them compose poems of their own in trochaic tetrameter to read in class. And just for fun, I took a stab at it too.

A little more time and polishing, and I'm sure it could be better. It's a little rough on the meter and a bit stream-of-consciousness. But again, just for fun, I thought I'd share. Enjoy!

Rousing early I rise; daybreak
meets me, bleary-vised bumbler,
lacking coffee, caffeine, needed
jolt of power. Goats with gruff voice
greet me, ears of mine assaulting
bah-ing, bleating, strongly urging
me to feed them, hunger of theirs
'suaging, bellies of theirs filling.
Slow are my movements, still slower
do I rise, but faster comes their
pleading. More insistant, more and
more incessant, pressing 'gainst my
will and wits, it thrusts me up—and
out of doors—and into the morning
sunshine. What am I to do now?
Can one sleep when waked from slumber?
Can one slumber when now roused from sleep?
No—indeed not! For one must rise,
hap'ly wakened, hapless driven,
simple feed-source—that's all I must be.
Morning, then, I greet thee—yes, and
goats, I feed thee. Essence actuated,
yes, and so I am, and ev'n so are you.

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