The Tree- A Poem

Hey guys, this is just a poem I wrote after seeing this amazing Douglas Fir Tree at the Botanical Gardens. It’s got more of a structure than the last one, and is very romantic in sentiment.

Your roots are the kingdom,

Out of which everything grows:

All the gnarled houses, walls, and barracks

Pushing outward like a relentless tidal wave

 

Your bark rises in river rapids,

Where ivy makes a home in the water

And covers you in a green coat

Keeping you warm, making you beautiful

 

Past the ivy, the branches take over;

Sharp needles hidden by pine

Hiding the bark beneath in mystery,

Enchanting the peasants below

 

But grow above the green, and past the bark,

Rise up, yellow summit, into the sky!

Give off the pine and the earth,

And share your story with the sun

 

You look over this strange Western Land

With one eye you gaze upon the university:

A semblance of grey buildings; moulding naturally into the green like rocks

And the other looks towards the horizon:

The ceaseless Ocean; its blue touching grey

 

And I know you’ve seen much more

Five centuries worth of growth, change, and destruction

When this land—a baby tottering on its feet—stood only in greens and blues

And only the sounds of the swaying, whispering pines, comforted you;

A grandiose lullaby for your growing bark

 

And then we came and chopped your brothers down,

Carried ourselves in monsters of wood and cloth

And your westward eye could only watch,

As their stripped carcasses were shoved seabound

 

And then we learned your way,

But not before colossal structures rose;

A blink in your life—

And chameleon-like turned to the color of the sea

They stand as new totem poles

Against the backdrop of the misty mountains

 

So we played homage to our genocide—

A holocaust of your brethren—

And made a shrine for you,

And placed you, deity, in the center

 

So here you stand now:

And so when I’m dead and gone,

You shall remain

What more lives, and strange happenings will you see?

How strange and petty our human squabbles seem to be!

Will those squabbles destroy the Earth and, ultimately, you?

Or will you still stand tall as our world births anew?

And her, of the Forgotten- A Poem

Hey guys, this is a poem I wrote last week after I noticed a women on the streets in Davie dying of cancer. I was so horrified by her story that I decided to write a poem about it. Now that the dust has settled on it, I can say it may just be my best poem. Let me know what you think! Please tell me where I could improve; i would love to learn from this.

 

Don’t forget about me

Not when you’re laughing, not when you’re dancing

Even when you’re crying, or when you’re thrashing

When the world seems too hard and heavy for you to bear

Remember I bore it;

I bore the doorways, abuse and rape

I bore the cuts, scrapes and burns.

My body survived and shrivelled, while my brain melted away

 

Don’t forget about me

Not when the cancer eats out everything that I am:

Every blood vessel, every skin cell, every whispy strand of hair falling from my head

All except my soul;

Remember that most of all,

Shining like a light against that darkness,

Where only orange paints the pavement

And ice fills their hearts

 

Don’t turn into one of them:

Those that wear designer jeans, and shake change in front of me

Only to say “I don’t have any to spare to you”

Or, “you’re only going to use it for drugs”

While they’re all off dancing in their glitter-night clubs

And I feel their music pounding and slithering through the pavement

Travelling up into my veins, diluting my brain

I know they shoot up in the bathroom anyway

Morph into those clowns, and I hope I forget you

 

To those passing by, I am not one of the living

I am a set piece, a part of the natural environment:

My tattered old jacket is a frumpy bush, and my change bin a bottomless pit

When I talk, they ignore it the way they hear a dog barking;

Something is there, something vaguely irritating, but no,

They’re much too important to care what it might be

So my mind falls somewhere far away from it all

Watching the world walk by,

In devastation

 

As you fall upon orange sheets and a wreath of pillows,

Easing your brain, and loosening your mind,

And while you think “this bed isn’t as comfy as it could be”,

Remember that I sleep against poles, and newspapers are my blankets

 

When you see a girl convicted for a crime the whole world thought she committed

Remember that girl is me

Remember I am innocent, and you’ll see

 

When you complain about your family;

The fights with the brother— the overbearing mother— the cold father

Remember the tongues of fire injected into me by my mother

And the staff of life used to torture me by my father

Or how they kicked me out,

After I hadn’t screamed enough for them

Or the loaded shotgun—and father standing colossal and tyrannical

When I attempted to come back again

 

Remember all the pain,

The tears,

The drunkenness,

The fears

Of raising a child,

Who grew up to hate you

 

And when I die,

Remember that poverty won’t die with me

Remember that the moment I disappear, and my clothes fall around me,

Some skinny little girl, with bleach-blonde hair— crack-addled and broken,

Will take my place

When you pass her by, look into her eyes

Eyes no older than yours;

Containing none of the light blue, innocent hope and joy of yours

And be reminded of the fact that you two live in different worlds:

You—a land of learning, freedom, and God

And her, of the forgotten

Crazy Times at UBC

I just went through one of those fantastic weekends that manages to be fun despite everything, and turns out to be a strange romp of everything childish and mature all at once, and to be more fun that the initial plans ever could have been.

On Friday night, all my friends pushed to go to Fiji’s blackout night. Frat parties turn out to be little more than dark, dank rooms, where guys overwhelm the girls, and your friends you arrived with are never the same friends you leave with. With this in mind, I wasn’t very enthusiastic at the prospects of spending my first day off at such a place. So we get ready, and walk towards the frats. The moment we reach it, we see five cop cars pulled up right at the gates, and the familiar blue-uniforms waiting like sentinels at the gate. I guess that’s what happens when a major RCMP station watches over such a tiny area, and when said Law-enforcement places their building directly beside the root of most drinking-related problems, then it’s inevitable that the frats will be harrassed from time to time. I wasn’t surprised.

My friends, on the other hand, were quite outraged: “those bastards, why do they have to suck the fun out of everything” or, “The night’s ruined!” Without anywhere else to go, we acted like regular college students, and decided to just wander around aimlessly. This might be seen as dreary, but c’mon– UBC’s Campus is awesome! We moved up to east mall where, after a couple rounds of rolling down a hill, a man wearing a suit materialized out of the shadows and gave us tickets. “Here, please, just come to our dance!” So we all walked over to what– I think — was the poli-sci dance. The dancefloor was basically empty, and by the time we’d arrived, most of the remaining dancers had grouped into grinding couples. But the pop-music was solid, and the lights made the room look like the inside of a kaleidescope, so we all had fun. Then we moved towards the western edge of campus, and stumbled down the infinite steps towards Wreck Beach, ending off the night like most first years.

The next day, I took a break from studying by bike riding through the northern part of campus. I went into the school of theology, which, for those of you who havent seen it, is a grand old gothic building whose central tower stretches up over the entire campus. I snuck in and went up to the highest floor and saw, to my mind, what must be the best view of the campus. Behind me, I saw the whole campus, from the blue glass of Irving K, to the stone exterior of the SUB; to the left of me the Ocean stretched out forever, clouding everything with a blue haze; and to the north of me the mountains stood motionless, like a frozen wave, most etched in green, while some painted white. The view was so gorgeous I felt phsyically knocked over. I love finding strange places that have views much better than the ones UBC likes to advertise.

That night, my friends invited me out to a pub (don’t worry, the non-drinking part of it). By the time our train of people assembled at the bus stop, fourteen of us made up the carriages. I’m sure we made more noise in there than any other table combined– and this was an Irish pub I’ll remind you! We acted as childish as humanly possible, and I don’t remember when I’ve laughed that hard before.

Finally, on Sunday I went to Occupy Vancouver. I wasn’t sure if I truly supported their cause or not, but I believed it to be something really important and historic; something of our generation, like woodstock to the 60′s. What it turned out to be was far smaller than I’d anticipated, and just a series of underwhelming speeches strung together. So I and my friends left and just explored downtown, an activity that never truly looses its appeal.

Overall, it was the kind of weekend only capable at UBC. I had all the fun a little kid could have, and all the freedome only an adult can grasp, all against a backdrop of the most gorgeous campus in the world.

University: A place of study, or a place to party?

I’m sure this is a story told by many, many first year college kids: they come off high school top of the class; involved in every extra curic available, straight A’s (and in some cases, A+) and they feel that they can do anything.

Then university happens.

Somewhere along the line, after getting repeated B’s with the kind of work that would have merrited an A in high school, that “special” student begins to deflate under the pressure. Suddenly, university becomes no longer about school, and instead becomes about having fun, and getting by class-wise.

That student was me, specifically last week. In choosing the 22nd best University in the world (at least according to the Time’s Higher Education list), I never considered that in going to a great university, I would be subject to an insane amount of work. My essay last week on the question of Oedipus being led by fate was torn apart by my prof, backed up with direct quotes from The Odyssey that, more or less, destroyed my entire argument. Well, after that, I started listening to my not-so-good influence friend. I really wanted to work, but I fall to the tug of peer-pressure easily, like a statue that’s toppled over with a little bit of wind. I stayed up late, only read the bare minimum of materials, and in some cases even skipped class. This wasn’t the student I’d intended to be when I started here. I mean, on the one hand, I was having loads of fun with my friend– at night. Then when morning came around I’d feel like shit, and would grow to resent class in all its forms. I no longer enjoyed the actual university part of university.

Then, over the long weekend, I purposely tagged on with my friends in their trip back to Victoria for thanksgiving. I didn’t know anyone there, and knew I wouldn’t get into any partying that weekend, and that’s exactly how I wanted it: three days to recharge, and rethink. I managed to read the entire Republic, which made me feel really good, because as it turns out, I was the only person in my entire Arts One seminar that actually finished the damn thing. Oh Plato.

Finally, my cousin gave me some advice that’s sure to stick with me for quite some time; “people think that the arts students have much less work to do than science, well they’re wrong. You have to take the initiative and go to your prof and talk to him during office hours. Bounce ideas off of him, and talk about what’s interesting to you. Go, and read the sources or totally unheard of books for the course so that you can generate a wide knowledge base. You’ll only rise to the top if you work for it.” Her words hit me like a strange, very unexpected epiphany. It all is starting to make sense. I’m in university. Time to take my schooling, and my fun, into my own hands.