Never underestimate a 15-year-old

He passed copies of the poem around the room. We were 15.

“‘To Make Much of Time’ by Robert Herrick,” it said at the top of the paper:

“Gather ye rose-buds while ye may,
Old Time is still a-flying;
And this same flower that smiles today
Tomorrow will be dying.

The glorious lamp of heaven, the sun,
The higher he’s a-getting,
The sooner will his race be run,
And nearer he’s to setting.

That age is best which is the first,
When youth and blood are warmer;
But being spent, the worse, and worst
Times still succeed the former.

Then be not coy, but use your time,
And while ye may, go marry;
For having lost but once your prime,
You may forever tarry.”

We discussed the poem and dissected it. Its meaning is obvious: take advantage of the time you have; don’t waste it.

But I felt like I had read the poem before and had somehow come up with an entirely different meaning. Perplexed, I didn’t say a word during the discussion.

***

A stack of poetry books sits on my dresser. The rest are at home, collecting dust in my dad’s office.

I attack my books with brightly colored pens and highlighters, circling and marking my favorite lines. Emily Dickinson –– my namesake, actually –– is my favorite. I’ve fattened her Selected Poems book with multi-colored sticky notes.

My mom bought me a book of romance poems  (my weakness), and I did the same thing –– I read through each poem and marked my favorite lines and passages. Herrick’s poem was in there.

***

Later during that class period, I decided to do what my generation does best: Google it.

Up it popped, showing three words that change the poem’s meaning. “To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time,” it said. I gaped.

I pointed it out to my classmates and then called the teacher over.

He denied it. At first. Then he recognized our –– namely my –– outrage.

Robert Herrick didn’t write the poem to appeal to everyone. He specifically aimed it toward one audience. And my English teacher had the audacity to underestimate us by chopping off its real meaning.

I’d like to think that teacher has been showing this poem to other sophomores for the past five years under the correct title, but that’d be an overestimation. I’m sure it’s been scrapped, never to be taught in that teacher’s classroom ever again after being outsmarted by a group of 15-year-olds.

 

Christmas time is gone :(

I thought of something fun I can do! I’m going to try to name every Christmas present I received from Santa off the top of my head!

Ready? Set? GO!

  • Ladybug Pillow Pet (It’s a pillow, it’s a pet – it’s a Pillow Pet!)
  • Jewelry-making pad-thing…so my projects stay in place!
  • Pliers (for jewelry-making – and the handles are fun, bright colors!)
  • Four pairs of sleep shorts (haven’t worn them yet because I haven’t felt like shaving my legs and then going to sleep – seems like a waste.)
  • Black blouse with purple flowers on it
  • SCARLET Liz Claiborne purse (a dinky one!)
  • TURQUOISE wallet (that doesn’t really fit in the dinky purse! It makes paying for things at the cash register much more fun!) [/sarcasm] ; )
  • pretty grey, black and purple plaid-ish coat
  • two toothbrushes (stocking stuffers)
  • Candy cane body wash (once again, stocking stuffer)
  • a trillion bottles of nail polish (Stocking stuffer…S.S. for short)
  • collection of poetry books (names like Billy S., Emily Dickinson, Edgar Allan Poe…)

Yeah…I know there is more…but I can’t quite think of anything else at the moment…my mind seems to have gone a little fuzzy.

Well that was fun.

Dear March, come in!

This poem by Emily Dickinson leaves me praying for March throughout the winter. Well, it’s finally here. And here’s the poem for your viewing pleasure:

Dear March-Come in-
How glad I am-
I hoped for you before-

Put down your Hat-
You must have walked-
How out of Breath you are-
Dear March, Come right up the stairs with me-
I have so much to tell-

I got your Letter, and the Birds-
The Maples never knew that you were coming-till I called
I declare-how Red their Faces grew-
But March, forgive me-and
All those Hills you left for me to Hue-
There was no Purple suitable-
You took it all with you-

Who knocks? That April.
Lock the Door-
I will not be pursued-
He stayed away a Year to call
When I am occupied-
But trifles look so trivial
As soon as you have come

That Blame is just as dear as Praise
And Praise as mere as Blame-

I don’t know why there are a whole bunch of hyphens. Ignore those; that’s not how it is in my book of Emily’s poems. I just love this poem. The way she personifies the months and the trees “The maples never knew / That you were coming, – I declare! / How red their faces grew!” That is probably my favorite line in the whole poem.

Last year, I kicked myself for not appreciating March like Emily does in this poem. I spent all winter reviewing that poem, just looking forward to March and the changing of the seasons, when it suddenly passed by me without even saying goodbye. This time, I plan to enjoy it.

Today brought my dog’s birthday. He turned eleven years old today and it’s scary that he’s really getting up there in years. He’s laying right next to me as I listen to Psapp (a band I just found today), text Robby, read Emily’s poetry, check my facebook and write this blog entry. He’s in his own little dreamland and kicks every now and then. I can’t believe that it has been 11 years since that day that I was five years old and we went to visit that litter of eleven puppies. One of Reggie’s sisters wouldn’t stop licking me, and I wanted her, but my mom came out of the sea of puppies with Reggie in her arms, and we never looked back after that.

Other than that, today was any other day. Yesterday Robby (you, reader, might as well be aware of my boyfriend’s name, since I will probably be writing about all of our adventures in the future) and I built a snowman out in my front yard. The snow was the perfect packing snow, and Robby rolled a ball around until it turned into the huge base for our snowman. From there, we messed around with my brother’s dog and tackled each other because, in the snow, nothing hurts. Amidst the tackling, snowball-throwing and occasional kiss or two, we managed to finish the snowman. Well, not totally; we still have the to put stuff on the face and give him arms, but the framework is standing securely in my front yard. All we have to do is get our butts out there to finish it sometime this week. That should be no problem.

I’ll miss the fun times in the snow Robby and I have had, but I won’t miss the white stuff once it’s gone. March is now here (come in!) and I can’t wait for that first real warm and mild day where the birds are out and I can finally open my window without a risk of catching pneumonia. That first day where the birds singing accompanies a chorus of dripping icicles and drainpipes is my favorite day of the year. After that day, I look forward to when our lilies pop up again. I can’t wait for that, either.

…so I live to know…

He touched me, so I live to know
That such a day, permitted so,
I groped upon his breast.
It was a boundless place to me,
And silenced, as the awful sea 5
Puts minor streams to rest.
And now, I ’m different from before,
As if I breathed superior air,
Or brushed a royal gown;
My feet, too, that had wandered so, 10
My gypsy face transfigured now
To tenderer renown.

~Dickinson

4/27/09

Procrastinate no more

All of my classmates are complaining about the Anthology that we got assigned. This massive project is homework for three months(?) and due in May for every sophomore class that passes through my high school. My oldest brother did it, my middle older brother did it, and my youngest older brother did it. It includes reading, analyzing, interpreting, and relating to pieces of literature that you as a reader and individual appreciate. For me? Easy as cake. For my classmates? It’s just another assignment that they can whine and stress over. I’m enjoying every minute of it.

The day it was assigned I went home, dug out my poetry books, and then proceeded to read every single poem in my Emily Dickinson book, my Romantic Poets book, and my Robert Frost book (again). I bought an Edgar Allan Poe (Major Tales and Poetry) novel, and got started on that as well. I made a checklist, and have been in deep thought about every work I want to add in ever since.

I have a good ten or eleven works done already (I have a system where I type in school, copy and paste it into a wordpress draft, and then copy and paste from the draft into a document on my computer – VOILA!) , and they are already compiled into sleeves in the order that I currently want them in and are settled into my draft binder. Just last night I stayed up until three in the AM working on a work that I suddenly had a brilliant idea on. It’s three pages long (and the minimum requirement per work is two paragraphs – hehe) and I am extremely proud of it.

My Anthology is going to be awesome. I can already feel it. I have my title, I know what’s going to go on my title page, I have my chapters named, and now all I have to do is fill in the gaps with  more works. I’m organized, I’ve been looking forward to this for six years, and I believe that I am better off than anyone in my class. Bring it on, Anthology.

Emily’s poetry, a history

I’ve been writing poetry for years. My mother named me after her favorite poet, so why not carry it on? I started out with a composition notebook that I decorated with stickers. Everyone just assumed it was my diary, as if it couldn’t be anything but a shallow notebook with all of my deepest secrets and fears hidden inside. Nobody gave me enough credit. Boys would steal it from me, but I managed to get it back without any harm done. They were only teasing. Teasing is harmless, right?

After that was filled, I moved onto a pink camouflage notebook that had pens attached to the front of it. It was nifty because if I had an idea I didn’t have to hunt for a pen before being able to write it down. The pens were just there. That notebook was also known as my “diary” and even a teacher asked: “why do you bring your diary to school?” To which I simply replied: “it’s not a diary.”

I poured random thoughts and whimsical dreams into those notebooks. Within about a month, the pages started ripping out of the pink camo notebook, so I saved the paper, but threw the rest of the notebook in the garbage. It was time to move on again.

I found a regular old yellow spiral notebook and plastered it with quotes, stickers, drawings, and pop-up sunflowers that I ripped off a thing I had at home. Poetry was transferred from my head onto the pages of that thing for about a year. I entered the seventh grade with the same notebook, and only showed the ones I was proud of to my then English teacher (who is now a teacher in the high school). The boys in my grade grew up a little and stopped calling it my diary, and I continued writing.

For my birthday that year, one of my best friends (we barely speak anymore…) bought me a hardcover spiral notebook with puppies on the front. Said notebook lasted me for nearly two years. That notebook taught me something important. Because I wanted the notebook to last, I only wrote poetry when I really really felt like it and had a good feeling about an idea. I decided that I didn’t have to write about everything – but there are some things that I will always wish to remember. I still have one page left in that notebook that remains empty. If I fill it in, the notebook is done forever. I always want to have the option of being able to fill it up totally. It’s amazing to go from the earlier poems in that book to the last few. It’s like traveling through two years of my life in thirty minutes.

Eventually, I took a little notebook that was a party favor at some birthday party I went to (I think it was Carin’s) and ripped out the used pages. I then covered it with duct tape, and voila! New notebook.

Using the duct tape notebook, I rewrote some of the ones I am really proud of, but I also wrote a year’s worth of new material. I am still busy filling it up with my life, so it’s a work in progress. It’s crazy to see how much I have grown in the past year. There are some poems in said book that are extremely naive and young-sounding. I know I will say the same thing in the future when I look back at what I wrote when I was fifteen (the present… for now), but I like what is exploding out of my pen at the moment. Maybe I will post some examples in the near future (which is defined as: later today).