Monday, 29 July 2019

ISC's Compilation of Lucy Poems and the Problem with it.

Lucy Poems is a set of five lyrical ballads, composed by English Romantic poet, William Wordsworth. Being introduced to Wordsworth at various stages of my life, both through an enthusiasm for English as well as on an academic level, I grew a deep appreciation for his work. In Elective English class, my teacher introduced me to Lucy Poems, a dreamy, sorrowful and intensely passionate set of poems about the poet’s love, Lucy. In the prescribed text by ISC, there were four poems given, ‘Strange fits of passion have I known, ‘She dwelt among the untrodden ways’, ‘I travelled among unknown men’ and ‘A slumber did my spirit seal’. Naturally, I studied and analysed these four poems without knowing until much later of the existence of a fifth poem that completes the ballad. This missing poem, ‘Three years she grew in sun and shower’ is the longest poem and perhaps, the most beautiful. It shows Lucy as the person Nature intended her to be. While the previous poem hinted at her growth in ‘And she I cherish’d turn her wheel, Beside an English fire’, this poem shows the completion of her ascent to maturity. 

The more I analysed the fourth poem, the less I understood why ISC would omit it. If they could include a gruelling twenty stanzas of Resolution and Independence, a pivotal poem in a collection of poems that I believe defines the poet’s character must be included. While the other three poems present Lucy in an excessively dream-like state with no real insight into her as a person, the fourth adds a touch of ground reality to this fantasy. While still maintaining its reverie through having Lucy’s description recited by Nature itself, it provides features to Lucy that so far have been missing. She loses a touch of her elusiveness making her even more alluring and thus, making the loss of her even more heartbreaking. This is the only poem in which we are properly introduced to Lucy, she is a ‘breathing’ character. Moreover, while Lucy has always seen in examples of nature like in ‘She dwelt among the untrodden ways’  and ‘ The bowers where Lucy play’d’, here we see nature as a third entity, as Nature. This heightens the conclusion of the poem where Lucy’s union with nature is complete and she becomes ‘Roll’d round in earth’s diurnal course’. 

Of course, there are several literary nuances to the poem that makes it appealing such as the mention of a willow which is an obvious allusion to her death and the fact that Nature created her to be ‘The girl, in rock and plain, In earth and heaven, in glade and bower’, a prophecy that is fulfilled as not only did she indeed play in these bowers but also left a lasting impact on those around her, memorialising herself and Nature. It also heightens the poet’s love for England as seen in the third poem, this is important as his love for Lucy inadvertently becomes the reason for him loving England. 

In conclusion, each of the poems forms an integral part of the story as a whole, therefore, to exclude any of them would be disrespect to the integrity of the collection. The first introduces the concept of Lucy and is the literal representation of the poet longing to be with Lucy but never being able to reach her, which forms the crux of the poems. The second shows the intimate relationship between Nature and Lucy, a point which is only realised in the fourth and depicts her isolation but juxtaposing union with nature. The third shows the aftermath of Lucy’s death on the poet and justifies his love for England, explaining his romanticism. The fourth allows deeper insight into Lucy and thus, we no longer see her as a dream but rather, as a memory of time passed. The fifth is a reassertion of Lucy’s death and allows for the completion of her union with nature as she becomes a part of it. 

Tuesday, 27 November 2018


‘I didn’t come this far to only come this far’,’Rory in Gilmore Girls was a crushing disappointment and I’ve never been more thankful for it’,’how to readjust the way you imagined yourself and where to begin because I have no clue.’ and ‘Blindsided by Bon Iver’. Here are a few working titles for what I’m about to write without actually knowing what I’m about to write. On Monday, sometime after 1 p.m., all candidates for Senior Council were called into a room so that results could be announced. I didn’t get through and I will not be on the council. I will not be Chief Editor, I will not be Chief Editor. 

My best friend was standing behind me and the director of my school called out names, none of which were mine. No one looked at me but my cheeks flushed in embarrassment, white-hot embarrassment. I felt a hand on my shoulder, and then two. My face burned and I felt my heart drop to my feet, I couldn’t comprehend it. As all results were announced and people started to disperse, I turned around and cried, hard; I couldn’t comprehend it. This was mine but apparently, it was not and the crying continued. I had rushed to the washroom now but everyone had already seen me, my friend luckily followed suit. You’d think that I would think about the things that I wouldn’t be doing at this point but instead, the most random images flashed through my head. I saw the red thread on the floor of the auditorium that I was sitting on earlier that day that bothered me, I thought of how often they would replenish toilet paper rolls in the washroom and how much soap an average person uses for one hand wash. I thought of all this and cried, I didn’t stop crying for two days. Correction - I stopped crying briefly to spite the school by ‘rebelling’ but I just got fucked by my teachers and this will most definitely be brought up in my next PTM. 

I can’t remember what all the stages of grief are but I think I surpassed them all in the wrong order, as well as ensuring that the angriest Pink Floyd songs were my soundtrack to the stages. I’m still not sure why I’m writing this and almost 400 words in and yet, I have not touched the titles mentioned in the first paragraph. I guess I should begin.

1) ‘I didn’t come this far to only come this far’

I work hard and I ensure that it pays off and in the process, I never actually thought of the alternative, what if I work the hardest and it doesn’t pay off? This may sound silly to you but a person can think of alternative futures but never actually believe in them. I believed in one future and thought of the rest in a passing glance, now I’m living in a future that I didn’t plan and didn’t believe in. Somewhere, this is completely my fault. I should have prepared for this but I couldn’t bring myself to because I believe that if you truly want something and give everything to one thing, you’ll get it. My beliefs are a little shaken. 

I’ve come very far, no doubt. I work every day towards the person I’m trying to become and more often than not, I don’t consider the person that I am right now. I’ve come so far from events in my life and personality traits I used to have that I didn’t like. But I didn’t come this far to only come this far, and that takes a while to digest.

2) ‘Rory in Gilmore Girls was a crushing disappointment and I’ve never been more thankful for it’

I watch a lot of Gilmore Girls, in fact, I think I’ve seen the first three seasons seven times. I loved Rory’s work ethic and positivity and I wanted to emulate it. The reason I stick to the first three seasons is because after Rory achieves her high school dreams she becomes a nightmare. She treats people badly, is shockingly under-confident, drops out of Yale, quits studying journalism because someone told her she can’t do it, lives off of her rich grandparents, steals a yacht and loses what made her her.

On Monday, all I could think of was “I understand where she’s coming from”, which terrified me. The course of her life shifted and she couldn’t handle it. So, I watched season 6 episode 20 through season 7 episode 1 and I looked at a crumbling person. I could not become that. I just couldn’t. I looked to her for inspiration when it came to studying and I will most definitely look at her failures. Where she failed, I’m determined to try harder and that’s what I’m doing.

3) ’how to readjust the way you imagined yourself and where to begin because I have no clue.’

Like I had previously stated, I pictured twelfth-grade me with a badge. I’ve lost that. I like to plan things and I didn’t plan for this. So now, let the assessment begin. I was really bad last night and I didn’t know what to do, I can’t remember ever feeling so helpless. My eyes hurt and my cheeks were so dry and everything was so hard. I had spent the majority of the day sitting in my favourite cafe, drinking coffee and studying for a test I had today. But I just couldn't do it, I was so manic I thought that if I went I would start bawling in the middle of giving the test. I imagined writing a long answer and crumbling to the floor because I don’t know where to go from here. 

I didn’t tell my mother any of this, I walked to where she was, gave her a hug and said that I didn’t feel well and I can’t go tomorrow. She later came into my room and told me that I should take the day off, I can make up for the test and I shouldn’t have to go to school like this. I’m so thankful for that. Because I’m rebuilding myself a little bit today, I’ve planned it.

4) ‘Blindsided by Bon Iver’

Blindsided - catch (someone) unprepared; attack from an unexpected position.

Bon Iver is a great band but I usually limit them to study sessions and early mornings. However, on listening to Blindsided again, I understood. Because that was exactly what I was. I was blindsided hard and it hurt. The song is inherently sad but it made me feel so much better because throughout the entire song, Justin Vernon is blindsided and after mulling it over and talking about it he was blindsided, just like that. A lot of people have tried to comfort me and I’m incredibly grateful for it. They tell me that this feeling passes and it won’t matter later on, but that doesn’t help me. Because this isn’t ‘ later on’, it's now and it sucks. At the same time, I couldn’t agree more. I am right now but soon everything that I’m feeling right now and doing right now will be referred to in past tense, everything will be referred to in past tense. 

In conclusion, this wasn't about me not getting Chief Ed. Sure, that's what triggered it but it doesn't justify me completely losing it. No, this was about me blindsided, left completely unprepared and cold and I'll try my hardest to ensure that it will never happen again.

Sunday, 1 April 2018

An Endless Summer Afternoon.

Three things defined one of the most gruelling and tumultuous times of my life - a boy, a friend and the weather.

Let's start with the boy who feels like a humid three p.m. memory when you can see the sun baking plants to death. He started off interesting, different, funny and he made me want to do better. He made me want to mould myself into the person that I thought I needed to be to earn his affection and alas, I had lost it the second the clock hit six and the sky turned to a bluish purple. I could have built a city with the amount of time I spent wondering why I wasn't good enough for him, especially considering that everyone around me told me that I was too good for him. This juxtaposition and an endless stream of sunshine drama made me want to rip my skin off simply to relieve the heat. It felt like the acidity in your stomach when you've had too much coffee and haven't eaten anything other than strawberry gum, it makes you nervous, excited and soon you crash hard. A welcome gust of wind cools the sweat dripping down my back and I take refuge in realising that I liked him far more than he ever liked me.  

A friend as promising as perfectly shaped white clouds on a clear blue sky as you sit on a hilltop and watch dawn break. The friend understands and hugs you when the world is rude and the second you turn around, she shoves a middle finger towards anyone who dares try to hurt you again. She'll be your eating buddy, workout buddy, trash-talking buddy, arguing about cosmetic surgery buddy, your indecisive buddy, your study buddy and soon enough, your 'I think you're my best friend' buddy. This friend doesn't feel violent like summer does, she's comfortable like spring and it's almost worrisome how much you've begun to depend on someone who you've only known for a year. It's early morning or late evening and the atmosphere isn't as hysterical as you know it will be in an hour or two.

The weather shifts from bearable to blistering heat to bearable to the harsh cold to bearable to 'how has my skin not melted off into a plunge pool yet?' to bearable to 'there are literally icicles encircling my toes'. The weathers fluid and my sixteen-year-old emotions accompany it on a ride that I have no control of. I'm angry, passionate and exploding like the sun and the next second I'm under the pretence of being self-actualised and calm like a full moon. My study breaks are spent learning about Mercury being in retrograde and comparing constellations to moles on my body. But soon enough the evening fades away into the night and the last two years are compressed into ten question papers that I now use to soak up spilt water.

 It has come full circle and I will never see the afternoon like I did again. The people who have shaped who I am becoming are still around me but have eased up, they now believe that I am capable of walking on my own but I am just as needy as I was before. It is the end of an instrumental era that has taught me every lesson I think I'll need. Humiliation from rejection healed by the love from people who care about me has resulted in me making it through, all the way till here. 

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