Sunday, December 20 2020

from the homework vault: some poems

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The Four Magi

I wrote this poem my Sophomore year of high school to honor my favorite Christmas factoid - that the Bible only specifies there were three gifts, and not three wisemen. In case you can't tell from this writing, that class made me really appreciate Shakespeare and I was determined to sound as smart and as brooding as The Immortal Bard himself. Aside from the over-engineered writing style, I think it's not a terrible poem.

``` Date: December 12, 2006 Title: The Four Magi

The heav’nly spec glazed o’er the scape Of the starlit Persian sky. Outshining Betelgeuse, Orion, Ursa – T’was the brightest piece on high. Below sat four sages, esteemed by their land, Debating the sight they beheld. They reasoned, projected, conjectured, deducted Concerning the views that they held. “I see,” said the first through his raised telescope – (A learned astronomer was he) – “It is only an orbiting binary star, That is surely what it must be.” “Nay,” said the second with a nod from his work: An array of geometry figures. “Light shone from fair Venus’s face To a star, and back to that of hers.” “Fie,” moaned the third in a stream of his tears. He spake with urgency and worth: “Our wretched lives should hereby end When this star crashes into our earth.” The fourth sage simply gazed to the ‘bove, Prescinding with no word, nor speech. But raised he his brow and silenced the men With a slow, but steady reach. “My friends,” said he as he stood from the ground, His prudence he proceeded to lend: “This star is not of astronomy, nor math, Not even a terrible end; It defies all our patterns, contradicts all we’ve learned, Confounds the wisest of wise, Yet shines with such light and glows with such beauty Never viewed in our eastern skies. How fortunate are we to be able to see Such splendor! What a glorious thing! For I think that such a welcome as this Could only be fit for a king.” ```

The Ballad of Sir Mike

I had to write a ballad for my junior year British Literature class. I got a B in this class - one of two non-A letter grades I'd receive in high school. My grade would have been a lot worse than a B if I didn't agree to sing this poem to the class for extra credit.

You read that right. I sang this poem in front of my 9 AM literature class. Not only was this the first and only time I'd ever sing solo for a group of people, but it was completely a cappella.

To help myself get into character, I brought a glass beer mug filled with water from the drinking fountain. Throughout the song, which I sung to the tune of the Whose Line Is It Anyway? drinking song game, I remember my hands trembling so much that I spilled water on my shoes and my fingers were sweating so much that I nearly soaked a hole through my printed assignment.

``` Come gather round, my friends, to hear Of a knight so brave and strong. Sir Mike! Sir Mike! The name you won’t Forget for very long.

His father was an Englishman; His mother Dutch, I think. Until the cruel and angry sea Did cause their boat to sink.

Young Mike was rescued from the wreck By turtles great in size, But on that day his parents met A sad and sure demise.

He washed up on the coast of Whales At just the age of three, Was kidnapped by a band of thieves And sold to slavery.

He toiled hard in Africa Until his freedom day. A mighty eagle pierced the sky And flew young Mike away.

“Release me now you stupid beast!” Young Michael shook his fist. It meant to drop him in the nest – But ho! The eagle missed.

Young Michael tumbled from the tree; T’was far below the bird. Fell at the feet of he, himself, Pope Innocent the Third.

“Alas! A knight from Heaven’s gate Has fell to earthly sand! Sir Mike! Sir Mike! Take up your sword And take the Holy Land!”

And to the Gaza strip he sailed With but a sword and shield, Against a billion Saracens And Heav’ns pow’r to wield.

He fought nine hundred thirty days; He jeered and taunted them: “Die now! Die now, you pagan dogs! Give us Jerusalem!”

The devil himself took aim at him – Struck with a poison dart. The Saracens, they captured Mike, Tore out his beating heart.

Sir Mike! Sir Mike! To you we sing; The man I’d like to be. Sir Mike! Sir Mike! To you we toast! Remember Chivalry! ```

Grandpa Recker

I wrote this descriptive poem about a family member for my Sophomore literature class. I have a lot of good memories visiting my grandpa and grandma. Their house was a treasure trove for old photos and antiques. My grandpa's coffee table was always littered with puzzles and games. They also had the as-seen-on-tv bird watcher's enthusiast wall clock that would ring with a different bird call every hour.

``` Date: December 12, 2006 Title: Grandpa Recker

Thin white hair meeting his beaming, merry face, Grandpa Recker greets you at the door with a gleeful, strong embrace.

He squints with his bright blue eyes through his thick khaki glasses, And tightens in a radiant smile, tough and slow, much like molasses.

You proceed to speak with a greeting; a fond, distinct “hello”, To which Grandpa Recker stops and stands - for he only heard a bellow.

You lean a little closer to enunciate your speech; But Grandpa Recker has already responded, still as happy as a peach.

With one of his massive arms, Grandpa Recker guides you through the door With long, powerful strides that thump against the floor.

You are seated around a table bearing Grandmother’s pumpkin pie dish Along with all the Sudoku puzzles Grandpa Recker didn’t yet finish.

He situates himself, moving a fresh newspaper page, Grandpa Recker chuckles heartily and begins with an estimation of your age.

“So how do you like the fifth grade?” He states with a furrow of his brow, You sigh and laugh as you respond, “I’m well into Highschool now.”

Grandpa Recker tells of stories and even plays a few old hymns As the joyous bird clock sings at ev’ry hour, while the day wanes and steadily dims.

To your regret, the Robin sings, meaning it is well past the hour of nine, But Grandpa Recker is always ready, on any day, to sing, laugh, and dine. ```