Saturday, December 28, 2013

"That Old Moaning Tree"

My poem, "That Old Moaning Tree," was recently published in my university's undergraduate literary magazine, Underground. I enjoy writing poetry. I write it for fun whenever I feel a whim, but I do not consider myself a "serious poet," if there were ever such a thing. I thought I'd post the poem here if any of you were curious. It's a bit of a dark poem, but my intention was to make it slightly humorous and slightly ironic. I felt inspired after reading "Cherry White" by Dorothy Parker.

That Old Moaning Tree

More than once I wondered how it would be
To tie myself in an old moaning tree
Where the dry leaves would shush
And the birds wouldn’t sing
Because they’d be too busy
Picking the eyes out of me.

More than once I wondered how it would be
To fly off a bridge through terrain serene
Where the wind would gush
And my eyes would water
Right before I hit the ground,
Where I’d become Earth’s slaughter.

Sometimes I’d wonder,
But it’s of no worth
Because soon enough
We’ll all be deep in the Earth

Where our corpses will wither
And nourish new trees

So another can wonder how it would be
To tie themselves in an old moaning tree. 

Friday, December 27, 2013

The Spirit of Christmas

"I have endeavoured in this Ghostly little book, to raise the Ghost of an Idea, which shall not put my readers out of humour with themselves, with each other, with the season, or with me. May it haunt their houses pleasantly, and no one wish to lay it.
Their faithful Friend and Servant,
C. D."
 - Charles Dickens, December, 1843

I've just finished reading A Christmas Carol from Charles Dickens for the first time. I thought it'd be appropriate for the holiday season. Growing up, I watched The Muppet's rendition of this novella at least once a year, and I confess that, at certain points, I envisioned The Muppet Christmas Carol as I read.

Even if you haven't read this story, you're probably familiar with the phrase, "Bah! Humbug!" (A humbug is a fraud or something nonsensical.) You've most likely heard the name Scrooge, because it's so closely associated with tight-fistedness and an aversion to Christmas. However, A Christmas Carol is more than just a ghostly holiday story of a miser who's scared into generosity. This book encourages us to embody the spirit of Christmas--even after Christmastime.

Ebeneezer Scrooge is frightened into generosity after his encounter with the three spirits, and after seeing his own dead body, cold and alone, he fully realizes the high price of his greed. In the end, he is a changed man (and a very manic one). He not only gives his money, but he also gives his time to others.

The cold Christmas setting of Victorian England mirrors Scrooge's frigid heart, but it also serves as an instrument of comparison to emphasize the evil of greed. Christmastime is known for generosity and good cheer, accentuating Scrooge's greed and his willful ignorance of the deplorable conditions of the English working class. Even after Christmastime, Ebeneezer Scrooge takes the lessons he's learned and applies them to the rest of the year. It is a model that all of us can carry throughout our lives.

We live in a fast-paced world where material acquisition is encouraged and admired, but the best gifts cannot be bought!  Let's be more like the changed Scrooge throughout the year by giving more of ourselves to those around us.