Gate of the Year

This is very much inspired by Isabella’s very neat poetry anthology, so thank you Isabella! The following is a poem by Minnie Louise Harkins. It was essentially made famous by Queen Elizabeth and became widely recognized in the early days of the second world war. It may be one of my favorite poems to date (and possible my favorite piece that Glee Club performed).

I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year

‘Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.’

And he replied,

‘Go into the darkness and put your hand into the hand of God

That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way!’

So I went forth and finding the Hand of God

Trod gladly into the night

He led me towards the hills

And the breaking of day in the lone east.

So heart be still!

What need our human life to know

If God hath comprehension?

In all the dizzy strife of things

Both high and low,

God hideth his intention.”

I find such power in the line “Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.” In part this poem highlights the soul’s desire for hope, for answers, for light. The arrangement the Glee Club sang can be found through the link below. Does the melody detract the strength of the poem or empower it?




I could not think of anything else to write besides the fact that this is my last post. Thank you so much y’all for making english SUCH a good year. I don’t think I’ll ever forget it. This was probably the best english class I have ever had in my entire high school career. I loved the discussions, how we got to sit in a round table and just talk. We bonded, laughed over food, and built friendships. So here, is one of my favorite poems about friendship by Ralph Waldo Emerson.


Ralph Waldo Emerson

A ruddy drop of manly blood

The surging sea outweighs;

The world uncertain comes and goes,

The lover rooted stays.

I fancied he was fled,

And, after many a year,

Glowed unexhausted kindliness

Like daily sunrise there.

My careful heart was free again-

O friend, my bosom said,

Through thee alone the sky is arched,

Through thee the rose is red,

All things through thee takes nobler form

And look beyond the earth,

The mill-round of our fate appears

A sun-path in thy worth.

Me too thy nobleness has taught

To master my despair;

The fountains of my hidden life

Are through thy friendship fair.

Lots of love,


Straightforwardly Backwards

Mixed-Up School


We have a crazy mixed-up school.
Our teacher Mrs. Cheetah
Makes us talk backwards. Nicer cat
You wouldn’t want to meet a.

To start the day we eat our lunch,
Then do some heavy dome-work.
The boys’ and girls’ rooms go to us,
The hamster marks our homework.

At recess time we race inside
To don our diving goggles,
Play pin-the-donkey-on-the-tail,
Ball-foot or ap-for-bobbles.

Old Cheetah with a chunk of chalk
Writes right across two blackbirds,
And when she says, “Go home!” we walk
The whole way barefoot backwards.
This poem is my odd way of saying affectionate farewell to our Junior English Class. The whimsical nature, and decidedly backwardness of the poem adequately encompasses much of my experience of analyzing ambiguous or confusing text. Yet there is an innocence, and child-like delight that threads into each line which I hope, is something that we can all have as we encounter new books, and new discussions- to forever be excited and inquisitive about words! 
Farewell my beloved C.Swaggers –> thank you for a wonderful year of English!

Poetry + Dance

At both the Poly and Westridge dance concerts last year, poems were used instead of music for some pieces. At the Poly one, the poem was spoken live! It was really amazing! At first it was actually really shocking because we always expect to hear music. Without the music and just merely the power of words, you are really able to hear the tone of each word. It is also interesting to see how the words of the poem are translated into movements. It is very powerful to both hear the poem and watch as it transforms into different motions you never could have anticipated. The dance aspect can truly add another element of emotion, if it is executed well. In my mind, executing it well means that the dance can stand alone as a wonderful piece, however by setting the piece to a poem a whole new dimension is added. A few times I have seen the dance movements literally doing exactly what the word is, which does not look good in my opinion. From a dancer’s perspective, rather than listening to rhythm and tone of the music (like how the violin, piano, or whatever instrument sounds), you are forced to truly process the words that are spoken.

By the way, I looked forever for a video of poetry and dance together, so you guys could actually see what I am talking about, but there are barely any. The ones that I found are not very good ones. This most likely indicates that poetry taking the place of music in dance pieces is not extremely popular…YET! (probably because it is so difficult to choreograph to and do it well!)

– McClain

A Red, Red Rose (In Song)

In case you were wondering how the poem I recited sounded as a song, I’m attaching a recording from my choir’s spring concert this past month. I would advise reading the poem’s text online while listening to it. I apologize for the muddled diction since the recording device was really far away from the acoustic the performance space’s sweet spot.

Anyways, this particular arrangement of “A Red, Red Rose” written by Eleanor Daley (Check out her other stuff, you guys. All so pretty and lyrical~) captures the poem’s sense of eternity, specifically in the accompaniment (Which I attempted to recreate in my mind to help with memory as I recited this poem to you all.) The serene, almost endlessly flowing piano accompaniment reflects the speaker’s pledge to love his beloved until “the seas gang dry”, “the rocks melt wi’ the sun, and “while the sand of life shall run” and to “come again” despite any distance between them. Additionally, Daley’s choice of rich harmonies act as the icing of this scrumptious, nommy cake of a song.

Yup. I’m sure you can tell how much I love this arrangement.




Jenny’s recitation of Jabberwocky reminded me of this video collaboration between Walt Disney and surrealist painter Salvador Dali. Both Destino and Lewis Carol’s poem depict whimsical, non-sensical journeys that use this absurdity to comment on reality. Destino has a “down the rabbit hole”- dream like quality. Seemingly arbitrary objects such as the hieroglyph have deeper emotional significances. For instance, the hieroglyph symbolizes the loss of time and the image of the woman’s figure which reoccurs abstractly symbolizes the fact that a we (humankind) cannot live on alone.


Food for Thought

Yesterday during our feast, I couldn’t help but thinking how the food we were eating connected to poetry in general. There were a mix of flavors and textures in a common setting, much like how in a poem, there are a mixture of tones and ideas. I found especially with the cheese (which was delicious, by the way), the longer you let it sit on your palette, the more the flavors melted together to create a more profound taste. Every poem we read this year, and the ones I put in my anthology, had that deepness and richness to them the longer you pondered over them.

Not only did our feast bring us together in a melting pot of flavors, but poetry did as well in a community of shared ideas.

Thanks to a great, tasteful year!



A Spin On Reciting Poetry- Spoken Word

This video is of Sunni Paterson performing a poem entitled “We Made It” on HBO’s Def Poetry Jam. Her poem is a super powerful piece about slavery and its connections with modern- day America. WARNING: There are two lines that, while realistic, are quite graphic. But a listener’s reaction to those horrific lines and the poem as a whole adds power to the effect of this poem.


Black and White Cheese

First off, the cheese was really nice today! tasty 🙂

I wanted to talk about the cheese that was black and white, and I wanted to play with those colors and its significance!

With the stereotypical notion that black is evil and white is black, we can compare the cheese, or its reversed cousin, to characters in heart of Darkness. Mr. Kurtz, in my opinion would be white on the outside and black inside. Although he is european and should have those “civilized traits”, we end up finding him in a crazed and evil state inside, just like the cheese’s cousin. Marlow is another story however because he really can be either cheese depending on how you interpret his character. What kind of cheese do you think Marlow is?


-Khadijah OMerdin