Monday, August 24, 2015

We Are Gathered Here Today

Short Story by Jennifer Jones of Cerro Coso Community College
2015 Met Awards - First Place for College Fiction

Uncle Dewey is crying as he talks about how much he’ll miss Mom’s terrible jokes. Julie remembers the one about the used car and chokes out a laugh. Her fiancé doesn’t say anything. He just quietly reaches for her hand. It’s when he begins rubbing his thumb across her engagement ring that Julie remembers what exactly she’d been considering before getting the phone call about Mom.

It’s not that she doesn’t love him or anything. She does. Well, will eventually. She does really like him. Just that morning, before they got dressed in these clothes they’ll never wear again, he brought her coffee. It was made with just enough creamer. But those small moments of domesticity are outnumbered by something else. No amount of perfectly made coffee can help her when she is overwhelmed with that unnamed feeling that constricts her lungs. Like now, as she contemplates making a human-shaped hole in the cream-colored wall behind her mother’s casket. Her staring contest with the wallpaper is interrupted by Uncle Dewey clearing his throat.

“Gloria is …was a great sister and friend. But she was also a wonderful mother. I remember when she first had little Julie. She was so happy. Being a mother was all she wanted.”

Julie bows her head, feeling the room’s attention being directed at her. She doesn’t risk looking at Uncle Dewey right now. Her mother was wonderful. She was lucky to have had the mom that made school lunches and led the P.T.A. But Uncle Dewey is telling everyone the version of the story that has a fairytale ending. Behind the smiling and warm hugs was a woman that gave up her dreams for her husband that didn’t want to leave their hometown. Her mother gave up her hopes of an acting career so she could make honey hams and scrub the linoleum sparkling clean. Julie remembers every time her mom’s façade broke. She remembers every single time her mom had a bad day and talked about what she could have been. But the next morning she’d be making a full breakfast for Dad and singing along to the radio as if nothing had happened.

Her fiancé’s hand on top of her own feels like a lead weight. Sometimes, when they are sitting at home and watching television, Julie feels like he’s taking all the air out of the room. She imagines he’s taking deeper breaths on purpose. As if he’s conspiring to turn her into a shell of herself. Or maybe into a pretty corpse that’ll follow her future husband around and drive a big, red S.U.V.

“Julie. Hey, are you okay?” Her fiancé is gripping her hand, and the movement pushes the engagement ring on her finger sideways. The flawless diamond is stabbing into her skin. It’s enough to put a stop to thoughts of being a smiling, Stepford-zombie.

“Yeah. Yeah, I’m fine.”

“Do you want to go up and see her?”

Uncle Dewey is already finished with the eulogy and sitting down. Julie looks around and sees everyone is hugging, crying, or a sad combination of the two. And she realizes that she’s doing neither. Julie nods and lets herself be led by her fiancé out of the pew and up the carpeted walkway. It feels like a slow eternity by the time they are both standing in front of the casket covered in several bouquets of roses. Julie pulls away from the grasp of her fiancé to pick up a stray petal.

“You know, she always said that she wanted daisies. I didn’t like to talk about funeral stuff, but she made sure that I knew that. I should’ve remembered.” Julie’s fiancé looks up from studying the roses, biting his lip before saying,

“Julie, I-“

“No, it’s okay. The roses are just as good. I’m sure she would’ve liked them.” They continue to stand there, looking down on the closed casket. Julie thinks about how her mother didn’t really get what she wanted in life. Even at her own damn funeral.

She feels her fiancé trying to take the petal out of her hand. She looks down and sees that it’s been crushed in her palm.

Monday, April 20, 2015

2015 Met Award Winners Announced!


Cerro Coso
First Place
Jennifer Jones for “We Are Gathered Here Today”

Second Place
Rey David Morales for “Donald”

Honorable Mentions
Shari Allison for “Father Nickolas”
Meritzel Herrera for “Ignorance is Bliss
Korinza Elaine Shlanta for “January 17, 2438”
Austin Ream for “Sweet Mary Jane”
High School 
First Place
Grace Kameyo Griego for “Control”

Second Place
Sydney Marler for “Ambition”

Honorable Mentions
Emma Gilmartin for “The Real Coward”


Cerro Coso
First Place
Jennifer Jones for “Undecided”

Second Place
Sophie R Walker for “Hummingbird”

Honorable Mentions
Michelle A. Lundberg for “Mom”
Alas Tarin for “The Last Supper”
Steffeni M. Moreno for “Repeat”
High School
First Place
Kelsey Saxton Hire for “Seventeen”

Second Place
Emma K. Heflin for “Paper Skin”

Honorable Mention
Emma Gilmartin for “The Steppe Girl”

Creative Non-Fiction

Cerro Coso
First Place
Reagan Wolfe for “San Jose City College”

Second Place
Alex Tellez for “The Greatest Story”

Monday, November 24, 2014


Fiction by Krista Kenny of Cerro Coso Community College
2014 Met Awards - Honorable Mention for College Fiction

“I’m healed,” she says. She sits in front of me smiling a smile I have never before seen on her lips. This is the first time I’ve seen my mom in a week. The plan had been for her to stay in rehab for much longer, but after several unexplainable days of neither pain nor withdrawal symptoms, the doctors had no reason to keep her. When she had told me on the phone that she wasn’t in pain anymore, I cried. I have been praying for this day since I was old enough to understand the concept, but I had never imagined that such a surreal event would have such a mundane setting: sitting in our house—in a chair I had sat in before on so many dull days—hearing that everything had changed. It didn’t seem real. But sitting in front of her today, in the same chair, it is impossibly real. I can hardly get a word in edgewise with all her stories of rehab: the friends she made, the food she ate, the bafflement of the doctors when she never entered withdrawal for the Oxycontin, and then stopped feeling the pain of the fibromyalgia altogether. She’s catching up really, for all the words that through the years the pain had wrested from her mind and strangled in her throat. My mom likes to talk, I realize for the first time in my nineteen years with her. My mom likes to laugh. Her laugh sounds alien to my ears though, which have so often heard her cry. Her smile is foreign to my eyes, which have become so used to her grimace. The sense of dissimilarity is overpowering. She starts to talk about all of the things we can do together now that she’s healed, all of the things she has to make up for as a mother. Her pretty words fall on me like half-unwanted caresses. My memories persist in dragging me back to all the other words I’ve heard from her, words so often filled with the venom of her pain, and all the hate and anger that had no other convenient target. I don’t blame her for those words. I’d long since gotten in the habit of ignoring the pain when it decided to speak through her. But this mother—the one that isn’t fighting the pain for words—she doesn’t seem like mine. Her arms, so strong and sure when she embraced me, aren’t the wary, trembling arms that have gingerly hugged me so many times before. The manner of her every minute gesture is strange to me without the weight of the pain dragging at her limbs. The adult in me is happy of course and reminds me over and over that this is my real mother; all the years before this were the façade. But there is a child in me screaming, screaming that the smiling, laughing person in front of me is an imposter, a mimic come to live the life my mom had wanted. Her strange laughter seems a mockery of all the years my mother had lived with the pain. It had become no more bearable but all the more familiar. In being given the thing I had begged God for my entire life, I feel somehow robbed of my mommy. But I cannot let it show. My feelings would hurt her, and I have been too thoroughly conditioned to never do anything that would hurt her. So I talk with her, and laugh with her, and put on a smile that I have never before worn on my lips. My mind tells me that God is present in this, but my heart tells me that he—and my mother—are further from me.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Montmartre, Paris

Poem by Janace Tashjian of Cerro Coso Community College
2014 Met Awards - Honorable Mention for College Poetry

She wept
and weeds grew around her feet
the black cat leapt

Words inept
granite cloak to hold her seat
she wept

Hooded eyes as shadows crept
across each stone, hide ... retreat
the black cat leapt

Endless mourning; below he slept
above, scorching freezing sleet
She wept

Barren bracken o'er the crypt
ravens swoop and caw conceit
the black cat leapt

Eternal. Wind swept
oh beauty! The bell tolls "Silence"!
she wept
the black cat leapt

Monday, November 10, 2014

An Irrelevant Edge

Fiction by Aubrey Elliott of Cerro Coso Community College
2014 Met Awards - Honorable Mention for College Fiction

“I wasted the best years of my life with you,” she said bitterly as the conversation escalated into a fight.

“You gave me the best years of my life,” he replied with an underlying meaning he knew she would mistake.

“You’ve held me back from the life I wanted to live,” she said missing his point.

“All I’ve ever done was try to better your life anyway I could.” True as it was, he knew it left no impact.

“Everything you say is a lie,” she said, perfectly aware of the nerve she would hit.

“What will make you happy?” He asked feeling obligated to do so.

“He makes me happy,” with that she unleashed the true cause of their withering marriage. It struck him speechless even though he had known it for a while. He didn’t need to know a name or any details once she confirmed his suspicions.

For their son’s sake, he would have tolerated the treachery, but he knew she wouldn’t be gratified by merely a new escort. She wanted the freedom to indulge in the vices he tried to save her from.

He was mournful that his marriage would have to end in such an unscrupulous way. Her selfish lust was an affliction on him and he resented her for it; but he held back form retaliation. He wasn’t ashamed by what his wife’s inconsiderate actions would reflect on himself; rather he knew her actions would leave a more devastating impact on others at stake. So when he was asked why his marriage was ending, he would say “I wasn’t making her happy,” to distract from, but not lie about, the real reason.

He kept her guilty actions out of the picture and let her take half of everything he worked for in the divorce. But in the custody battle for their son, against his conscience, he exposed her dependency on entangling types of escape. He tried not to stain her image as much as he could, even though she had already done so to herself. He tried to make the court hearings and the arguments that followed them as painless as possible. She made his attempts at being passive difficult; not seeing his motives for being so distant, and would spark an argument, after every hearing, spitting painful retorts at him, while he held his breath. And after the final verdict, she privately lashed out at him for what she perceived as delusive nobility.

“You should have just exposed my affair; half of your hard work isn’t worth your smug stance. It’s just like you to try and keep your higher ground.”

He tried to refrain from giving the impression of pretention but there was no better way to express the honesty of his motives, “I didn’t do it for me,” he told her.

Scornfully she argued, “I don’t need you to spare me.”

He took his son from her arms. And as she kissed her son goodbye, he told her “I didn’t do it for you either.” And he walked away without holding his breath anymore.

Monday, November 03, 2014

Snow Walk

Poem by Katy Harvey of Cerro Coso Community College
2014 Met Awards - Honorable Mention for College Poetry

spring snow in Tahoe
pitching pinecones, gentle wind.
diggin' earth this day.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Society of Last Hope

Short Story by Shari Allison of Cerro Coso Community College
2014 Met Awards - Honorable Mention for College Fiction

This group sits in a circle. I hate circles; maybe it is because it’s the unhealthy mix of a childhood game combined with the intrusive familiarity of needy adults. Whatever the reason, the blend equals a cake made with tablespoons of salt and baking soda instead of teaspoons. Truly cringe worthy. Still, I take a seat because all my other options are gone.

A lot of people say that you earn a seat here, I feel more like I paid for mine. Based on the looks of the chair, I’d say I got ripped off. There is a slit in the plastic surface right in the center of the bottom cushion. The indentations tell me that all the butts before me didn’t appear to mind sitting on a chair whose stuffing had long ago escaped. Where ever that stuffing is, I’m sure it is in a better place than I am. Regardless, I take a seat. Instantly I’m reminded that the cushion is on vacation.

To distract myself from the others who are starting to gather I look at my hands. They are dry and cracked, I really should take better care of them. The hangnails are discouraging, but the real worry about my hands is that they are shaking. It is a movement I’ve become accustom to, and have learned to work around. I have coffee. It’s not in one of those Styrofoam cups built to withstand heat and unintentionally designed to outlive the human race. My trembling fingers would quickly distribute that cup’s contents onto myself, the floor, and any neighboring party who happened to walk by. No. There is no way I am going to embarrass myself by that potential. I brought decaffeinated coffee from home in a Bubba cup. A great big purple and stainless steel container with a spill resistant lid. They didn’t specifically advertise the canister for my particular ailment, but it works.

From the corner of my eye I can see the donated yard-sale type chair to my right has now become occupied. The intrusion begins. It is no longer me sitting in a circle of miss-matched chairs. People are moving toward the circle, it makes me think of the salty cake and I visibly cringe. I can feel the body heat of strangers pressing in on me. There is a rush of movement, smells, noise, all pushing in against my isolated musings. They move with purpose, and a desire to translate their time spent here as accomplishing an objective. My goal is more closely related to survival.

The neighbor to my right says something. A cloud of stench wafts by me. Bourbon, I think. It’s hard to say, my olfactory capacity is breached. The smell of coffee, old furniture, and perfumed bodies has drowned-out my identifying facilities. It doesn’t really matter anyway. A few drinks before coming here seems saner than coming stone-cold sober. Sadly I’ve missed the open window of opportunity to dilute my mental acuity to an oblivious state. I get to take it all in, including everything I don’t want.

“Okay everyone, it is time to get started. Please come in and take a seat.” Instructs a female voice.

I continue to stare at my hands. I’m not here to make friends.

“Now, you are all here for the same reason. You are probably thinking to yourself, that the last thing you want to do is make friends, but I will warn you—it is the people in this room who will help you to reach your goal.” I’m beginning to hate our mindreading leader already.

“We will take a break in thirty minutes. I will sign report cards at the break after you submit for the blood test. We test for drugs, alcohol, tobacco and alike. No blood test, no signature.”

There is mumbling in the room and several people including the guy to my right, get up and leave. Club rules state no alcohol. I abided.

“Okay,” starts up our leader after the brief interval, “now that those who are serious are left, we can begin tonight’s meeting of the Broken Hearts Club.”

I want to leave. To escape from this joke of coercive assembly. The problem is they hold my life in their hands, and my survival depends on any whim they set.

“You are here because your lifestyle puts you at risk. Doctors don’t like to give hearts to people who don’t take care of them.” I can feel her eyes sizing up the group. “This program will keep you on the donor list. If you stop attendance for any reason other than hospitalization, you lose your priority status.”

Determination forces me to adjust my butt in the cushion-less chair for the long haul.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Circa 2003

Short Story by John Schneider of Cerro Coso Community College
2014 Met Awards - Honorable Mention

A supermarket parking lot
In Newbury Park was my office
I sat saturated with
Careless ennui in the morning sunlight
That warmed my car's interior
Looking at letters to send, counting my change

When I saw them
Two unselfconscious lovers
Cuddling nuzzling
Head to head, head to neck
Face to chest

Oblivious to many nearby
Walking or sitting or driving or existing
On foot or in clever
Wheeled or fixed boxes
Careless of the couples
Public, unashamed amour

A tree branch spanning high
Over market's wall
Was their lovers' perch
On swaying twig-tip they stood close
Two crows engaged in airy foreplay

Ignorant of us ignorant to them

In their bliss

Monday, October 13, 2014

The Rosary

Short Story by Amanda Taylor of Cerro Coso Community College
2014 Met Awards - 2nd Place for College Fiction

I think about death every day. I don’t know if that makes me terribly normal or just plain morbid. I guess neither of those reasons are anything to be proud of, so what’s the use in deciding? I don't care about what happens to me after I die-I’ll have to face it myself and find out for sure. What concerns me is the deadline. I wonder if I'll get snuffed out like a candle before I'm able to get married or see my children grow up. Will my good works add up in the end or will my wrong turns define my life? My great-grandfather died last October and his loss has barely begun to sink in. I knew him from his 70s on and although I knew he would eventually die, part of me felt he was an exception. He was the only father I’d known for most of my life and was a constant source of fascination. He had lost all his teeth in World War II and never wore a set of dentures for the rest of his life. I remember staring at him in disbelief when watching him crunch on tortilla chips or tear into a prime rib with nothing but his bare gums. I remember how he would kneel by his bed and pray for hours a day with his glow in the dark rosary and his prayer books, stained greasy brown by his crooked, wrinkled fingers. I thought that rosary was the greatest. Even though anything glow in the dark is a marvel when you’re eight-years-old, my grandpa’s rosary made me believe in God, the saints and maybe even Santa Claus. My grandpa was the one who took me to church as a child I remember how much I wish I could say my prayers with that rosary that lit up like my Jurassic Park poster at night. The first time I walked into his room after he died, I spotted the long forgotten rosary strewn across his night stand. I grabbed it in my hand and felt the beads shift between my fingers. I could feel the grit, deposited by years of feverish whispers and kisses, that was forever trapped between the joints between the beads. What used to be a coveted treasure suddenly lost all its former glory. It felt so utterly cheap because at that moment what I wanted more than anything was my grandpa, the person who drove me to school and played cards with me, to be alive. Instead, all I have is this odd relic of a life I will never fully understand. At that moment, I felt the full weight of his loss that I didn’t feel when I kissed his cheek as he drew his last breaths. I felt the full weight of that shame because at the moment he left this world, I was more concerned with my own life than his death. When I'm dead, will anyone hold my most prized possession and realize that I was the treasure worth keeping?

Monday, October 06, 2014

The 20th Year

Poem by Korinza Shlanta of Cerro Coso Community College
2014 Met Awards - 2nd Place for College Poetry

How my soul is filled with trepidation,
And my path seems covered by growth
Or perhaps it's the dilapidation
Or even just the loss of my own oath.
How I swore to be better and achieve
My dreams in quick strides, but my pace is slow.
In my twentieth year I shall not grieve.
I have time ahead, so little in tow.
A decade ahead, a decade behind,
Fewer seasons seem to pass before me.
Yet, I learn to shape my body and mind
From my thoughts into actions you can see.
I will clear my own path with my own thought.
A path for me I follow not for naught.

Monday, September 29, 2014

To the Artist

Poem by Emma Heflin
2014 Met Awards - 2nd Place for High School Poetry

To the artist Who himself is a work of art.
Your paintings of war and earth and misery
Are nothing compared to what I see.
Because war and earth and misery
Are sad, sometimes beautiful, too.
Anyone can see how that is true.
But nobody sees you the way I do.
My artist
Who himself is a work of art. 

Monday, September 22, 2014

Three Lies

Short Story by Korinza Shlanta of Cerro Coso Community College
2014 Met Awards - 1st Place for College Fiction

People are told three lies about dying. The first is that everyone dies alone. I watched my friend Sam take his own life, watched his hands drop to his sides, and I even felt his last breath leave his body. I waited around for a long while to see if his soul was going to just jump out of that now motionless corpse and fly away into the great beyond we are always told about, but it never happened. I wasn't the only one expecting his soul to jump out and fly away, either. However, science seems to work even when all else fails. The moment his body ceased functioning the microbes that lived in his systems started their work of decomposition. Like what happened to Mozart after he died. It reminds me how Sam always liked the music jokes I told him.

I have known Sam for as long as I can remember. Bit of a quiet kid growing up, but so was I. I think that is what made us such compatible friends. Sometimes we would banter back and forth, make jokes, create code languages, but people only ever really looked at us with suspicious glances, like we were up to no good. We never did much harm, at least I never did anyway, Sam was the one to act out our plans while I just watched and reaped the benefits of it coming about. Sam always seemed to be a step ahead., but good thing I thought further than he could run. He had his troubles, but who doesn't? He never could run away from those. I like to think I was the creative one in that relationship though. It was me who came up with the idea to sneak into the mortuary to put a squirting flower on the tux of our mutual friend Allen. Boy, was he a smart one. Allen always had a story to get us out of trouble. He was so good with words. He always could make me feel like everything was the greatest story. I will never forget the look on his mothers face though when she leaned in to kiss his eyes. Then again, there is plenty of time to still forget.

Our adolescent years were more tumultuous. We were men, but no one else seemed to think so. We had reached puberty and took upon ourselves the responsibilities that are taken in response to freedom. The only hindrance we encountered was the lack of freedom. So in the coming of age, we agreed together that we needed to find a greater meaning to life than that of which we knew. So we told our parents that we needed to expand our horizons and shed the down of our wings to take to the skies. And that is precisely what we did. We went into the army as paratroopers. Young men always seem to overestimate their courage. Our boots landed on the soft German soil. We hid clustered together behind a church in the graveyard, too full of cowardice to move. It must have been the training that kicked in, but it took all of us to stop the man from running and telling anyone where we were. He seemed to be deep in thought, but it looked like he saw us. We could not take such a risk. We were men of action.

Sam was a good, thoughtful fellow though. He never missed the chance to pick up a good book, work in the garden, or stroll through the park in the late afternoon. He often tried to immerse himself in art, music, and the teachings of great thinkers, but he could never really find an escape from his troubles. He never could outrun them, or himself, he couldn't find a sanctuary from the evil that plagued his mind. Yet, he thought death would be the final solution. He must have thought it was going to bring him peace or perhaps meet God. I never did admired his silly boyish ways. They were never thinking far enough ahead.

The great thinkers have proposed a plethora of theories about death and what happens to the soul when a person dies. Often the theories are told to us just to bring us comfort. “Like my favorite, you will get to see your loved ones again and rest in peace.” “Or my favorite, may he rest in pieces. Or my favorite, to be written in among the greatest story ever.” “Or my favorite, death is the next step to those willing to look down.” Sam was a good guy, but he was always trying to outrun his demons. He even tried running away from our relationship. He stopped laughing and joking with me, telling me his stories, or telling me what he was thinking. It is a terrible thing he felt we needed to be on such poor terms, but we have plenty of time to catch up later.

The second lie about dying is that your troubles leave you once you die. All of us are still here though. We are just waiting on Sam, and he should be here soon. See, that's something that they forget to tell you. The first thing to go is hearing, then sight, feeling, and then finally the “spirit” will go on its way. However, that's only after the microbes finish their job cleaning up. You didn't think that the spirit would be allowed to be so rude as to leave right after leaving such a mess did you? At least Sam doesn't have to be alone the whole time. Ah, good fellow, even we will be polite and introduce ourselves when he gets here. Oh before I forget, that brings me to the last untruth.

The third lie about death is that you were ever alone to begin with.

Monday, September 15, 2014

On a Final Note

Short Story by Alex Tellez
2014 Met Awards - 1st Place for High School Fiction

In my youth, they told me this day would come. They explained the details clearly to my broken, desolate mother. The memories seem too vivid at this point in my life. "Ms. Wittman, I'm going to lay down our diagnosis to you, but I have to trust that you will control yourself enough to listen to what I am about to say: Frederick has developed a rare form of thyroid illness known as hypothyroidism." He explained the details of the disease, expecting my mom to care about what he was saying, when, honestly, my mother felt her entire world closed in on her: "Basically, Frederick's thyroid glands are producing more hormones than what's normal,” he indicated to the scanner diagrams of my upper-body, “which increases his heart rate, makes his skin sensitive to the sun, and ... This is the news I wish I didn't have to tell yo- Ms. Wittman ..." My mom just couldn't take it at this moment. It just wasn't what she needed to hear. "Now, it's fortunate that you have insurance that will work with you on this, but, as part of the disease, Frederick is to take a daily dosage of pills everyday." This now struck me because I could already foresee the outcome of not taking the dosage ... "it's vital for the health of your son that he takes them. This disease isn't curable. A pill a day is the only thing that can treat the disease. I'm incredibly sorry."

The years flew by ever since, and I kept reminding myself this day would come. I had no idea my condition would put so many limits as to what I could do with my life. Explaining my condition was a drag because all I would get is unhelpful sympathy - which, don't get me wrong, was necessary sometimes, but it got me distracted from more important issues. Eventually, the hypothyroidism took full effect towards the end of my teenage years, and I realized how weak I was becoming. One evening, in particular, I stepped outside to the snow-casted city I had called my "home" for eighteen years. Next thing I knew, I was awake in the warmth of a hospital bed.

*  *  *

Weeks have flown by, and I keep reminding myself this day would eventually come. They tell me that I would not leave until the pneumonia had gone away, and it still hasn't. Everyday I’m in here, I feel the misery of receiving pointless treatments at the expense of my mom's paycheck. Right now, at the peak of midnight, I’m sneaking out of my bed and I’m getting out of the hospital, feeling weaker than ever. My senses have no goal but to tell my mind just how unbearable the ice-weather is.

So, here I am, lying down on the snow, and I'm doing nothing but smiling. Freddie, the guy who smiles. God, you probably think I'm insane. But, to be honest, I'm smiling because I know I'm going to be happy wherever I go next. I feel myself giving up. I can feel the pain going away. With whatever strength I have, I pull out a letter I had written with a pen I stole from the nurse's desk and a clipboard I stole from the doctor's.

For most of my adolescence, I had thought about what would be on that note, since everyday was a reminder that this day would come. I thanked everyone I knew. My mom. My doctors. The friend I once made in woodshop. I pulled him out of my pocket and marveled at his beautiful texture for the last time, realizing that it was the only accomplishment that my condition hadn't affected, especially in years. I played with him one final time. And that made me smile. I smiled because I was with a friend, even if he wasn't real. He existed. The letter was long, long, long. But it was me, and that's all I wanted it to be.

And on that final note, I smiled.

Monday, September 08, 2014


Poem by Alas Tarin of Cerro Coso Community College
2014 Met Awards - 1st Place for College Poetry

Monday, September 01, 2014


Poem by Skylar Muse
2014 Met Awards - 1st Place for High School Poetry

Do you hear the whispers all around?
The ones at night that are keeping you awake
Where so little truth is found.

The rumors and lies that surround,
Make you feel pain and heartache
Do you hear the whispers all around?

Day after day of enduring this life that makes you feel drowned,
You wonder if it's worth it to continue to fake,
Where so little truth is found.

The pain piles into mound after mound,
Causing your sanity to tremble and shake.
Do you hear the whispers all around?

You know of no other way to break through the sound,
Maybe the shot of the gun will thoroughly break
Where so little truth is found.

A warning to those who spread these rumors around:
Before you say anything, think about these people, and from them what you will take
Do you hear the whispers all around?
Where so little truth is found?

Contributor's Note: This is a villanelle I wrote in response to the tragedy of bullying and spreading rumors I see in my everyday life. I wanted to show the bullies the negative consequences of their harmful language and what it does to a person emotionally and mentally.

Monday, April 14, 2014

2014 Met Awards Ceremony and Reading

Friday, 25 April

4-6 p.m.

Student Art Gallery of Cerro Coso IWV, Ridgecrest

Family and friends, come join us for this award celebration and reading in honor of this year's fiction and poetry award recipients.

The ceremony will be held in Cerro Coso's beautiful art gallery. All 1st and 2nd Place writers and poets will be the featured readers of the event. Refreshments will be served.

All award recipients, including honorable mentions, will receive an award certificate at the event. First and second place authors will receive a $50 or $25 gift card.

Watch for 1st and 2nd place pieces in the Fall 2014 edition of Metamorphoses Online.

Monday, April 07, 2014

2014 Met Awards Poetry Winners Announced!

High School
Skylar Muse for "Words"
Emma Heflin for "To the Artist"
John Hicks for "Puppy Love"
Alas Tarin for "Logic"
Korinza Shlanta for "The 20th Year"
John Schneider for "Circa 2003"

Katy Harvey for "Snow Walk"

Janace Tashjian for "Montmartre, Paris"
Stay Tuned!

All winners and honorable mentions will be invited to read their work at the awards ceremony Friday, April 25 at the Cerro Coso IWV Campus in Ridgecrest. Friends and family are encouraged to attend this celebratory event.

Awards Ceremony and Reading: Friday, 25 April 2014 in Ridgecrest
Publication: Fall 2014

Winners will receive more information regarding the ceremony soon.

Friday, April 04, 2014

2014 Met Awards Fiction Winners Announced!

High School
Alex Tellez for "On a Final Note"
Abigail Clayson for "The Knight and the Dragon"
Korinza Shlanta for "Three Lies"
Amanda Taylor for "The Rosary"
Shari Allison for "Society of Last Hope"

Aubrey Elliott for "An Irrelevant Edge"

Krista Kenny for "Healed"
Stay Tuned!
Poetry winners will be announced in the next few days.

All winners and honorable mentions will be invited to read their work at the awards ceremony Friday, April 25 at the Cerro Coso IWV Campus in Ridgecrest. Friends and family are encouraged to attend this celebratory event.

Awards Ceremony and Reading: Friday, 25 April 2014 in Ridgecrest
Publication: Fall 2014

Winners will receive more information regarding the ceremony soon.

Monday, February 10, 2014

The Unsung Hero of Plainsong

Essay by Janace Tashjian

Plainsong is a term that defines music created in worship, by unaccompanied voices, sung in unison and in a free rhythm. Kent Haruf's novel of the same name, Plainsong, presents a chorus of life on the high plains of rural Holt, Colorado. The voices of the chant are sung by varied members of this small town community, all of whom are navigating life, love, abandonment, betrayal, isolation and triumph. As if flowing across a giant loom, their experiences weave together in this unisonous psalm, intoning the resiliency of the human spirit and the ability to overcome loss and discover life anew.

One voice rises above all others. A voice of reason and inspiration, of strength and gentle humanity. Though the character-titled chapters of Plainsong specifically focus on Tom Guthrie (educator and father of two young boys), Ike and Bobby (Guthrie's sons), Victoria Roubideaux (17 year-old pregnant student), Ella (Ike and Bobby's mother) and Harold and Raymond McPheron (aged brothers and farmers), it is the timbre and tone of Maggie Jones that invites us to sing along. Is Maggie Jones the unsung hero of Plainsong?

Maggie has only one devoted chapter of her own, yet she permeates the lives of those around her. Always there to lend a helping hand, even when she could use one herself. Consider first Victoria Roubideaux, pregnant at age 17, abandoned by her father, ousted from home by her mother, and left alone by the boyfriend whose child she carries. After being locked out of the house, and left “in a kind of daze of sorrow and disbelief” (Haruf 32), where did Victoria seek sanctuary and comfort? “Unconscious of any thoughts at all” (Haruf 33), Victoria finds herself at Maggie's door. Maggie provides shelter to Victoria without a second thought, despite already caring for her elderly and demented father. She helps Victoria confirm her pregnancy, visit the doctor and begin planning for her future. She never coddles Victoria, but paints a real picture of her situation and the trials ahead. After Victoria's disastrous disappearance to Denver with estranged boyfriend Dwayne, Maggie is the first phone call she makes, in efforts to come home.

Does Maggie give up on Victoria when it becomes clear she can no longer stay in Maggie's house, after her father becomes violent? No. Consider next, the McPheron brothers, Harold and Raymond, aged farmers living a life of isolation on their ranch. Maggie reaches out to the brothers to enroll them in Victoria's care. “I want something improbable” (Haruf 109) Maggie states simply. Though she couches it as a favor to Victoria, Maggie clearly identifies the McPherons' need for their isolation and sorrow to be eased. “...You old solitary bastards need somebody's too lonesome out here” (Haruf 112). She continues to inspire them in their efforts, coaching and encouraging them on how to talk to her, how to open up, and how to be good providers. When Victoria goes missing, Maggie is whom they go to for help and advice.

Maggie seems to have an endless supply of compassion and patience. Doesn't she ever lose her cool? Well, yes...once. “Don't do this damn you, you're too old to play dumb” (Haruf 190), Maggie states to Tom Guthrie after his indiscretion with Judy, the school secretary. Consider lastly, Tom Guthrie, educator and father to Ike and Bobby, who has been abandoned by his wife. He too finds unique solace and comfort in her company. At a time of life when Guthrie is struggling to raise his boys alone, and accept his failed marriage, Maggie, “the most generous woman he'd ever known” (Haurf 233), is that glimpse of a silver lining amidst the dark and cloudy trials Tom faces. She is straightforward and honest in her interest toward Tom, “I've been watching you for a long time” (Haruf 230), “I'm just crazy about you” (Haruf 233). Guthrie seems to find his muse in Maggie, revealing himself to her in one simple phrase: “You take the breath out of me” (Haruf 232).

In his essay entitled “Kent Haruf,” Michael R. Molino states, “the novels of Kent Haruf do not tell the story of heroic idealism on the American plains” (8). Heroic idealism, no. Heroic deeds, most certainly. Maggie Jones is the intrepid voice in this ensembles' refrain, indeed the unsung hero of Plainsong. Though Haruf does not tell her story directly, Maggie is revealed as a cornerstone of her community, always ready with a kind gesture, thoughtful expression and practical solution. In these “craziest times ever” (Haruf 124), Maggie's empathy and pragmatism is pitch-perfect. Her selflessness and honesty touch the lives of all those with the good fortune of knowing her.

As Plainsong's chant comes to a conclusion, Maggie finds herself surrounded by the friends and family she helped bring together, their paths inextricably entwined—none of them wholly repaired or made new, but more akin to “the old dishes that had been unused for decades, that were chipped and faded, but still serviceable” (Haruf 299). Those dishes are proudly laid upon the table for their impending fellowship. The lone voice of Maggie's father absently calls out into the emptiness: “Hello. Is anyone there” (Haruf 299). No doubt Maggie Jones was there to answer his call.

Works Cited

Haruf, Kent. Plainsong. New York: Vintage Books, 2000. Print.

Molino, Michael R. “Kent Haruf.” Dictionary of Literary Biography, Volume 292: Twenty-First Century American Novelists. A Bruccoli Clark Layman Book. Ed. Lisa Abney and Suzanne Disheroon. Gale, 2004. 148-154. Web.

Contributor's Note: Janace Tashjian is a Cerro Coso student. She enjoyed writing this literary interpretation for English 111: Introduction to Types of Literature.

Monday, February 03, 2014

A Real Education in "Naming of Parts" and "When I Heard the Learn'd Astronomer"

Essay by Chelsea Foulke

Most people have had a life-changing teacher whose influence cannot be overstated. The best teachers, however, are not always found in school but are instead often found outside of the traditional learning environment. The poems "Naming of Parts" by Henry Reed and "When I Heard the Learn'd Astronomer" by Walt Whitman give the reader insight into what constitutes true teaching, true learning, and a real education. The speakers in both of these poems find their conventional teachers mundane and derive their real education from nature and personal introspection. Both poems implicitly encourage the reader to find a real education outside of the customary method. Through diction and syntax, tone, and contrast, both poems address the issues of domination by teachers to attempt to force traditional learning and the resistance of students to accept learning in this traditional fashion.

Both Reed and Whitman use diction and syntax to comment on education in their poetry. Reed depicts what true learning is through diction and syntax in "Naming of Parts." Many phrases in this poem have both denotations and connotations. The name of the poem itself denotes the austere nature of the parts of the guns that are described in the poem. The poem begins each stanza with exactly what the military teacher is teaching regarding the parts of a gun, and his words are uncreative and uninteresting. At the end of each stanza, however, the narrator repeats phrases but attributes different meanings to the phrases. In contrast to the teacher's tedious words, the words used by the internal voice of the student are beautiful and utilize various literary techniques. For example, Reed uses the simile that the flower in the garden "glistens like coral" (5). Similarly, Reed begins the second stanza with a mundane description of another part of the gun but ends the stanza with the "silent, eloquent gestures" (11), creating personification of the trees. Reed also uses repetition of phrases. After a dull description of how to ease the spring of a gun, he repeats a similar phrase, but in relation to the bees pollinating the flowers, "They call it easing the Spring" (24). In this way, he uses two definitions of the word "Spring" to connote two different meanings.

Similar to Reed's use of diction and syntax, Whitman also uses these literary techniques to provide commentary on teaching and learning. "When I Heard the Learn'd Astronomer" contains a total of only eighty-three words, but the words have many denotations and connotations. For example, if Whitman had intended the adjective "learn'd" to be a respected one, he would have used the word "educated" or "knowledgeable" when referring to the astronomer. Instead, the word "learn'd" connotes a tone of skepticism towards the astronomer. Similarly, the student claims that he "heard" the astronomer. But the implication again is that while he may have heard the words of the teacher, he only learned from these words in that they opened the door for more intuitive thinking. The "proofs" provided by the astronomer also give a sarcastic connotation. The word leaves the reader wondering what, if anything, was proven. In contrast to this sarcastic connotation of "proof," when the student walks out, Whitman describes the student as "rising and gliding" (6), giving an uplifting connotation and even implying that he rises above the teacher. When the student goes outside, there is not just silence, but "perfect silence" (8), as if again, nature is the better teacher. The last word of the poem is "stars." The astronomer talks on and on, but never actually mentions the true subject -- the stars. The diction and syntax with Whitman's last word is direct, suggesting that it is nature who is the true teacher.

In addition to the use of diction and syntax, both Reed and Whitman use the tone of the speaker to convey their ideas about what constitutes true teaching and learning. In "Naming of Parts," the tone of the speaker is conveyed through two obvious speakers. The first speaker is the teacher who names of the parts of a gun. The teacher's words, such as "lower sling swivel" and "bolt," are monotonous, long-winded, and even cold. They simply name the actual parts of an inanimate and unfeeling object, a weapon. In one case, the speaker actually refers to the "safety-catch"; perhaps Reed intentionally chose this word based on the fact that the root word of "safety-catch" is "safe." In contrast to the voice of the teacher in "Naming of Parts" is the voice of the student. The voice of the student appears to be an internal voice, as if the student is daydreaming of a more idyllic place. The teacher's words ring in the student's ear, allowing him to think of other locations where the words might apply but in totally different ways. Perhaps there is even a third implied voice in the poem, which is the voice of nature. Nature does speak figuratively in the poem through its gardens and bees. The differences among these three voices provide an overall effect for the reader that implies that the information the teacher is espousing regarding guns is unexciting compared to the beauty and teaching of life and nature.

The tone of the speaker in "When I Heard the Learn'd Astronomer" also provides commentary on true teaching and learning. The actual narrator of the poem is the student, but the student describes the astronomer in a sarcastic tone. The implied voice of the astronomer is educated, but not necessarily wise. Similar to the teacher in "Naming of Parts," the astronomer is boring; he presents his information in "charts and diagrams, to add, divide, and measure" (3). In fact, the astronomer is so mind-numbing that the student actually walks out of the lecture hall. The tone of the speaker insinuates that he finds true learning not from the astronomer, but instead from nature and inward contemplation, as he "looked up in perfect silence at the stars" (8).

While diction, syntax, and tone are important elements in these poems, the most important way that both Reed and Whitman convey the theme of true teaching and learning is with the overall use of contrast. In "Naming of Parts," guns are contrasted with flowers, teachers are contrasted with bees, weapons of death are contrasted with the life of nature, and austere military equipment is contrasted with descriptions of nature as "fragile" (17) and "eloquent" (11). The narrator notes that "the early bees are assaulting and fumbling the flowers" (23), which would seem like a strange description of a bee's behavior, if it were not in contrast to the military men "fumbling" with how to learn the parts of their "assault" weapon. Overall, the contrast in the poem speaks to the issue of what is being taught by the teacher versus what is being learned by the student. The speaker repeats a particularly odd phrase, that the students "have not got" various parts of a gun (10 and 28); in addition, they "have not got" the "silent eloquent gestures" of the garden (12). The contrast of these deficiencies of what they "have not got" highlights the difference between the information that is being taught by the traditional teacher and the information being taught by the real teacher, nature.

Whitman also highlights the theme of traditional teaching versus real learning through contrast in "When I Heard the Learn'd Astronomer." The audience in the poem responds to the astronomer with "much applause" (4), which is contrasted with the narrator's own feelings of negativity towards the lecturer. Similarly, the word "unaccountable" (5) typically means inexplicable, but can be contrasted with another meaning of not being responsible for one's actions, leaving the narrator free to dismiss the astronomer's words and exit the classroom. When the narrator does leave, he is "tired and sick" (5), but there is an obvious contrast between being physically sick and only mentally sick of this traditional form of teaching. Finally, in contrast to the traditional education from the lecturer, the real education comes when the narrator exits into the "mystical moist night-air" (7).

In each of Reed and Whitman's poems, the narrator is subjected to a teacher that he finds mundane, the narrator is compelled to find another teacher, and the narrator finds that teacher in nature. The narrator in "Naming of Parts" finds his education in "the almond-blossom / Silent in all of the gardens and the bees going backwards and forwards" (lines 28-29). The narrator in "When I Heard the Learn'd Astronomer" finds his education when he looks "up in perfect silence at the stars" (8). Through these two poems, Reed and Whitman use diction and syntax, tone, and contrast, to address the theme of what constitutes a real education. Both poets urge the reader to look outside the traditional realm of teaching to find his own teacher and his own education.

Works Cited

Reed, Henry. "Naming of Parts." Making Arguments about Literature, A Compact Guide and Anthology. Ed. John Schilb and John Clifford. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2005. 331. Print.

Whitman, Walt. "When I Heard the Learn'd Astronomer." Making Arguments about Literature, A Compact Guide and Anthology. Ed. John Schilb and John Clifford. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2005. 333. Print.

Contributors Note: Chelsea Foulke is a senior at Mammoth High School and a concurrent Cerro Coso student who would like to transfer to UC Berkeley and major in pre-med/pre-vet. She enjoyed writing about literature in both English 101 and English 102 at Cerro Coso. This was a piece she wrote for English 102.

Monday, January 27, 2014

The Colors of Autumn

Short Short by Stephen Davis

“Did you read the paper this morning?” Stephen asked his wife as she walked into the kitchen. She poured coffee into a red mug before she sat down.

“I did,” Diane replied, “another war is exactly what this country doesn’t need. It’s terrifying and it seems like war is everywhere.” She picked up the newspaper and began skimming through the front page article again.

“Well, at least we don't have to worry about seeing any action over here.” He attempted reassurance as he stood up and began walking towards the living room. “I’m going to take Gabrielle to the park to play for a while… Gabrielle it’s time to go.”

Stephen walked across the hard wood floor and grabbed shoes for his daughter. Gabrielle sat down on the couch nearest the door while her father laced up her pink and white Dora shoes. They walked down the brick steps, hand in hand, into a beautiful autumn morning. Elm trees lined the street in colors of red and yellow, piles of leaves littered the sidewalk.

As they both crossed the street and walked onto the grass, Gabrielle took off in a sprint to the jungle gym. Stephen continued to walk, following after, and began laughing. Gabrielle was yelling with excitement, so much that it would have been difficult for anyone else not to share in that joy. She jumped from the sidewalk onto the sand without care. Her feet quickly sunk below ground level, filling the sides of her shoes with sand. She ran up a flight of stairs only to disappear inside the three story plastic contraption, complete with five different slides. Stephen smiled again as Gabrielle was lost in the masses of children, all yelling and screaming with laughter.

“Daddy, Daddy! Will you go down the slide with me?” Gabrielle yelled, peering out a porthole at the top. Stephen hesitated for a moment, considering the implications of squeezing his way into a looping slide meant for someone half his size. Not wanting to disappoint, he began the adventure anyway. Stepping on the sand, he carefully avoided any spillage into his shoes. He dodged children running at full speed, children oblivious and seemingly impervious to damage. Stephen successfully made it to the fort and pulled himself up out of the crossfire of little bodies everywhere. He climbed to the top. Gabrielle laughed as he closed in and took off down the slide ahead of him, her laughter echoing down the tunnel. He dove in after her, tumbling down the tube, and stopped well short of the edge of the slide.

Stephen pulled himself to the edge, feeling scuff marks made by little feet under his palms. He saw Gabrielle crying and sitting on the ground, comforting her knee.

“Oh, Baby, what’s wrong?” He asked in a comforting tone, ignoring the sea of seemingly endless children running by.

“I fell and scraped my knee….there’s blood!” she wailed. Her Daddy knelt beside her and put his arms around her. He held her for a few moments before standing up and giving her his hand.

“Come on, let’s clean you up.” Stephen held her hand and walked her to a water fountain while she slightly whimpered.

“Don’t wash it Daddy, it will sting!” She pleaded, squeezing his hand tighter as he began to drip water over her knee.

“Everything is going to be okay my love,” he reassured her.

Something bright flashed in his peripheral vision. Multiple colors of light shined everywhere in the distance. Beautiful stars of red and yellow, the color of autumn.

Contributor's Note: Stephen Davis is a Cerro Coso student. This short short was written for English 141: Creative Writing.

Friday, January 17, 2014

2014 Met Awards - Call for Flash Fiction and Poetry

Metamorphoses, in cooperation with the English Department and the Student Government of Cerro Coso, is hosting the 2014 Met Awards for Creative Writing. The editors are calling for poetry and flash fiction—very short short stories sometimes called short shorts, of between 500 and 1,000 words—written by Cerro Coso and local high school students. 

Well-Used Pencil - Gary Enns
Well-Used Pencil - Photo by Gary Enns
First and second place writers will receive a $50 or $25 gift card and publication in the Fall edition of Metamorphoses Online. Runners-up may also be considered for publication.


Participants must be current students of Cerro Coso or one of the many high schools in the college's service area (Mammoth, Bishop, Ridgecrest, California City, Edwards Air Force Base, and Kern River Valley areas).


Fiction must be between 500-1,000 words.

Poems must be under 50 lines.

More about Flash Fiction

Flash fiction is an economical form of story-telling: in a small amount of space, the writer of a short short exhibits the essentials of good fiction: character, plot, setting, language that surprises, and a significant ending which points to a meaning beyond any surprise or twist the author offers.

The best flash fiction implies significant meaning beneath the surface of its plot and shimmers with emotional resonance.

For an interesting article on the composition of short shorts, see Flash Fiction Editor-in-Chief Suzanne Vincent’s article, “Managing Story Length.” "Economy," Vincent says, is the most important quality of a successful short short:
An economical writer (the most enjoyable type of writer to read) doesn't waste words, doesn't repeat what's already been said, chooses the "less is more" path to revealing information to the reader. (Vincent)
Following is a list of sample short shorts from the Flash Fiction  and SmokeLong Quarterly online publications. In each, notice the economical use of language, the surprising detail, the characterization through action, dialog, and description, and the enduring sense of significance. As you read each short short, ask yourself, Why is this story worth telling?
"Fork" by Glen Pourciau
"Stalling" by Andrew Roe
"The Runner" by Curtis Smith
"Kolkata Sea" by Indrapramit Das
"Vacation" by Peter DeMarco
"When the Cicadas Come" by Tara Laskowski 
More about Poetry

Bob Dylan said, “a poem is a naked person.” Poetry reveals the layers beneath our everyday experiences. What is a personal experience moves beyond the self to create a shared experience and reveal a common knowledge that unites us.

Poetry uses language in surprising ways and isn’t afraid to be. Poetry shows.

Following is a list of poems; as you read each one, notice the use of metaphor and imagery; what is revealed as each poem progresses?
“The Gift” by Li-Young Lee
“Her Kind” by Anne Sexton
“The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner” by Randall Jarell

Thank you to the Student Government of Cerro Coso for providing funding for the following prizes:
High School Fiction
First prize 50$ and online publication in Met
Second prize 25$ and online publication in Met

High School Poetry
First Prize 50$ and online publication in Met
Second prize 25$ and online publication in Met
College Fiction
First prize 50$ and online publication in Met
Second prize 25$ and online publication in Met

College Poetry
First Prize 50$ and online publication in Met
Second prize 25$ and online publication in Met
Submission Deadline: 28 March 2014
Awards Announced: 4 April 2014
Awards Ceremony and Reading: Friday, 25 April 2014 in Ridgecrest
Publication: Fall 2014
How to Submit

Us the submission page to submission page to enter your work. At the beginning of your contributor's note, mention the word "Awards." If you are a high school student, also be sure to include the name and location of your school.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Dog

By Ivan Sergeyevich Turgenev
Trans. Constance Garnett

Reprinted by Met in celebration of National Poetry Month 2013. This poem is in the public domain.

Us two in the room; my dog and me.... Outside a fearful storm is howling.

The dog sits in front of me, and looks me straight in the face.

And I, too, look into his face.

He wants, it seems, to tell me something. He is dumb, he is without words, he does not understand himself - but I understand him.

I understand that at this instant there is living in him and in me the same feeling, that there is no difference between us. We are the same; in each of us there burns and shines the same trembling spark.

Death sweeps down, with a wave of its chill broad wing....

And the end!

Who then can discern what was the spark that glowed in each of us?

No! We are not beast and man that glance at one another....

They are the eyes of equals, those eyes riveted on one another.

And in each of these, in the beast and in the man, the same life huddles up in fear close to the other.

February 1878

Wednesday, April 17, 2013


By Lewis Carroll

Reprinted by Met in celebration of National Poetry Month 2013. This poem is in the public domain.

When midnight mists are creeping,
And all the land is sleeping,
Around me tread the mighty dead,
And slowly pass away.
Lo, warriors, saints, and sages,
From out the vanished ages,
With solemn pace and reverend face
Appear and pass away.
The blaze of noonday splendour,
The twilight soft and tender,
May charm the eye: yet they shall die,
Shall die and pass away.
But here, in Dreamland's centre,
No spoiler's hand may enter,
These visions fair, this radiance rare,
Shall never pass away.
I see the shadows falling,
The forms of old recalling;
Around me tread the mighty dead,
And slowly pass away.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

A Backward Spring

By Thomas Hardy

Reprinted by Met in celebration of National Poetry Month 2013. This poem is in the public domain.

The trees are afraid to put forth buds,
And there is timidity in the grass;
The plots lie gray where gouged by spuds,
And whether next week will pass
Free of sly sour winds is the fret of each bush
Of barberry waiting to bloom.

Yet the snowdrop's face betrays no gloom,
And the primrose pants in its heedless push,
Though the myrtle asks if it's worth the fight
This year with frost and rime
To venture one more time
On delicate leaves and buttons of white
From the selfsame bough as at last year's prime,
And never to ruminate on or remember
What happened to it in mid-December.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Sailing To Byzantium

By William Butler Yeats

Reprinted by Met in celebration of National Poetry Month 2013. This poem is in the public domain.

That is no country for old men. The young
In one another's arms, birds in the trees
—Those dying generations—at their song,
The salmon-falls, the mackerel-crowded seas,
Fish, flesh, or fowl commend all summer long
Whatever is begotten, born, and dies.
Caught in that sensual music all neglect
Monuments of unaging intellect.

An aged man is but a paltry thing,
A tattered coat upon a stick, unless
Soul clap its hands and sing, and louder sing
For every tatter in its mortal dress,
Nor is there singing school but studying
Monuments of its own magnificence;
And therefore I have sailed the seas and come
To the holy city of Byzantium.

O sages standing in God's holy fire
As in the gold mosaic of a wall,
Come from the holy fire, perne in a gyre,
And be the singing-masters of my soul.
Consume my heart away; sick with desire
And fastened to a dying animal
It knows not what it is; and gather me
Into the artifice of eternity.

Once out of nature I shall never take
My bodily form from any natural thing,
But such a form as Grecian goldsmiths make
Of hammered gold and gold enamelling
To keep a drowsy Emperor awake;
Or set upon a golden bough to sing
To lords and ladies of Byzantium
Of what is past, or passing, or to come.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

A Dream

By Christina Georgina Rossetti

Reprinted by Met in celebration of National Poetry Month 2013. This poem is in the public domain.

Once in a dream (for once I dreamed of you)
     We stood together in an open field;
     Above our heads two swift-winged pigeons wheeled,
Sporting at ease and courting full in view.
When loftier still a broadening darkness flew,
     Down-swooping, and a ravenous hawk revealed;
     Too weak to fight, too fond to fly, they yield;
So farewell life and love and pleasures new.
Then as their plumes fell fluttering to the ground,
     Their snow-white plumage flecked with crimson drops,
     I wept, and thought I turned towards you to weep:
     But you were gone; while rustling hedgerow tops
Bent in a wind which bore to me a sound
     Of far-off piteous bleat of lambs and sheep.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Dulce et Decorum Est

By Wilfred Owen

Reprinted by Met in celebration of National Poetry Month 2013. This poem is in the public domain.

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs,
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots,
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame, all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of gas-shells dropping softly behind.

Gas! GAS! Quick, boys!—An ecstasy of fumbling
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time,
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling
And flound'ring like a man in fire or lime.—
Dim through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.

In all my dreams before my helpless sight
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

If in some smothering dreams, you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin,
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs
Bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,—
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori.

Friday, April 12, 2013

My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun

By William Shakespeare

Reprinted by Met in celebration of National Poetry Month 2013. This poem is in the public domain.

My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun;
Coral is far more red, than her lips red:
If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;
If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.
I have seen roses damask’d, red and white,
But no such roses see I in her cheeks;
And in some perfumes is there more delight
Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.
I love to hear her speak, yet well I know
That music hath a far more pleasing sound:
I grant I never saw a goddess go,
My mistress, when she walks, treads on the ground:
And yet by heaven, I think my love as rare,
As any she belied with false compare.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

To Fausta

By Matthew Arnold

Reprinted by Met in celebration of National Poetry Month 2013. This poem is in the public domain.

Joy comes and goes: hope ebbs and flows,
Like the wave.
Change doth unknit the tranquil strength of men.
Love lends life a little grace,
A few sad smiles: and then.
Both are laid in one cold place,
In the grave.

Dreams dawn and fly: friends smile and die,
Like spring flowers.
Our vaunted life is one long funeral.
Men dig graves, with bitter tears,
For their dead hopes; and all,
Maz’d with doubts, and sick with fears,
Count the hours.

We count the hours: these dreams of ours,
False and hollow,
Shall we go hence and find they are not dead?
Joys we dimly apprehend,
Faces that smil’d and fled,
Hopes born here, and born to end,
Shall we follow?

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

The Raven

By Edgar Allan Poe

Reprinted by Met in celebration of National Poetry Month 2013. This poem is in the public domain.

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
"'Tis some visitor," I muttered, "tapping at my chamber door,
Only this, and nothing more."

Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December,
And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.
Eagerly I wished the morrow;, vainly I had sought to borrow
From my books surcease of sorrow, sorrow for the lost Lenore,
For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore,
Nameless here for evermore.

And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain
Thrilled me, filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;
So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating,
"'Tis some visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door,
Some late visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door;-
This it is, and nothing more."

Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
"Sir," said I, "or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore;
But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping,
And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door,
That I scarce was sure I heard you", here I opened wide the door;-
Darkness there, and nothing more.

Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,
Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortals ever dared to dream before;
But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness gave no token,
And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, "Lenore!"
This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, "Lenore!",
Merely this, and nothing more.

Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning,
Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat louder than before.
"Surely," said I, "surely that is something at my window lattice:
Let me see, then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore,
Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore;,
'Tis the wind and nothing more."

Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,
In there stepped a stately raven of the saintly days of yore;
Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he;
But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door,
Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door,
Perched, and sat, and nothing more.

Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore.
"Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou," I said, "art sure no craven,
Ghastly grim and ancient raven wandering from the Nightly shore,
Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night's Plutonian shore!"
Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."

Much I marveled this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly,
Though its answer little meaning, little relevancy bore;
For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being
Ever yet was blest with seeing bird above his chamber door,
Bird or beast upon the sculptured bust above his chamber door,
With such name as "Nevermore."

But the raven, sitting lonely on the placid bust, spoke only
That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour.
Nothing further then he uttered, not a feather then he fluttered,
Till I scarcely more than muttered, "other friends have flown before,
On the morrow he will leave me, as my hopes have flown before."
Then the bird said, "Nevermore."

Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken,
"Doubtless," said I, "what it utters is its only stock and store,
Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful Disaster
Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore,
Till the dirges of his Hope that melancholy burden bore
Of 'Never, nevermore'."

But the Raven still beguiling all my fancy into smiling,
Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird, and bust and door;
Then upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking
Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yore,
What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt and ominous bird of yore

Meant in croaking "Nevermore."

This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing
To the fowl whose fiery eyes now burned into my bosom's core;
This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining
On the cushion's velvet lining that the lamplight gloated o'er,
But whose velvet violet lining with the lamplight gloating o'er,
She shall press, ah, nevermore!

Then methought the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer
Swung by Seraphim whose footfalls tinkled on the tufted floor.
"Wretch," I cried, "thy God hath lent thee, by these angels he hath sent thee
Respite, respite and nepenthe, from thy memories of Lenore!
Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe and forget this lost Lenore!"
Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."

"Prophet!" said I, "thing of evil!, prophet still, if bird or devil!,
Whether Tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore,
Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted,
On this home by horror haunted, tell me truly, I implore,
Is there, is there balm in Gilead?, tell me, tell me, I implore!"
Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."

"Prophet!" said I, "thing of evil, prophet still, if bird or devil!
By that Heaven that bends above us, by that God we both adore,
Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn,
It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels name Lenore,
Clasp a rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore."
Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."

"Be that word our sign in parting, bird or fiend," I shrieked, upstarting,
"Get thee back into the tempest and the Night's Plutonian shore!
Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken!
Leave my loneliness unbroken!, quit the bust above my door!
Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my
Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."

And the Raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;
And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon's that is dreaming,
And the lamplight o'er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor;
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
Shall be lifted, nevermore!