As an extended activity to Henry David Thoreau's "Walden," Amber Heggenstaller's 10th grade advanced English class at South Williamsport Area High School composed poems to portray the dichotomy between nature and the infringement of societal norms on individuals' lives. Their poems convey how a world driven by greed, technology and haste destroys the ability to acquire inner fulfillment and appreciation for the natural beauty in life.
The following are the poems written by the students:
'The Depletion of Simplicity'
Shown are Amber Heggenstaller’s 10th grade advanced English class at South Williamsport Area High School.
By JENNA RANKINEN and
We were from a simple life once
Whose peace and solitude engulfed our hearts and minds
While starry skies twinkled in the dense forest
And cold, crisp air stung our skin
Where the subtle crunch of shriveled leaves
Liberated an earthy aroma from the dark soil
While the distant echoes of the owl's hoots awakened
Quick-footed foxes who sprinted through the shadows
Now society knocks at our door
Our desires transmute into power
Entangled with corruption
Flowers wilt, creeks run dry
Hopes and dreams fetter by hate's encompassing darkness
Love tainted by society's unrealistic expectations
Stringent greed and lust threaten to consume us
As the sun dwindles across the horizon
Colors drain away
Depicting a place of venom
The undying desperation to find oneself
I am not from this heinous world
'Disengagement from Decadence'
By CAROLINE ENGEL, BRADY
SAHM and IAN WARNER
I am from solitude,
from a humble dwelling, scarce silverware, salutary ambience.
From yeast-free bread to home-grown food.
I am from umbrage beneath the foliage, rays of sunlight beaming.
Open spaces, room to wonder. From hazy, dewy mornings, auburn evenings.
The melody of whippoorwills chanting,
soft footfalls muffled by grass, wind whispering in my ear.
From an uncommitted life, timeless tranquility.
From my erudite philosophies, drenched with aspersion toward mankind.
I am from the unspoken, profound forest.
You are from a dystopian Society,
From intrusive trains, profane industry, acrid pollution.
Where minds are clouded by imperious forces.
From a place with proclivity to buy, spend, gorge.
Where megalomania thrives.
You are from self-indulgence, decadence, and pretentious origin,
fettered to possessions in an endless competition for grandeur.
You are from desecration of innocence,
elimination of sanctity, transmutation of thought.
Is there no limit to Society's immutable desire for more?
'Depravity and Immaculacy'
By DONAVAN KEEN,
KRISLIN BANZHOF and
I'm from nature
From amorphous fog slumbering on the pond
Immutably cool, moonless nights
Like man's fires, submerging us in its infernal heat
Liberating us from the fetters of society
From streets permeated by abyssal smog and overcrowded living
I'm from drivel and decadence
From jaded living and excess
I'm from heinous attempts at introspection
From transgressions of human sanctity
From the devolution of simplicity into complexity
I'm from the scourge of society
Disabused of binding precepts and transcending superficiality
I'm from the dissolution of materialism
To the revivification of spiritualism
From pristine and untainted purity
From soaring eagles to burrowing moles
And harmonious hymns of wood thrush and whippoorwills
That fills the air with a hum of life
I'm from freedom
Liberated by nature
By COURTNEY SCHONEWOLF and MADELINE PLUMMER
I am from concrete decadence, whistling engines and architectural beauty jaded by man's haste
Rows of indistinctive houses glaring back at one another
Impotent people fettered by man-made immutable dwellings
Salt fish aromas festering inside closed doors
Shameful neighbors, caught in a perpetual state of megalomania corrupting my peaceful inhabitance
Even though the sweetest fantasy presented itself already
They preferred to adorn their houses with inane objects
The multitude observed the stars as if some fantastical dream hid itself among twinkling inanimate objects in the night sky
Worrying too deeply about what the future holds
I am from the land of greed
I could not stay
I escaped to live simply
To appreciate grand pine trees, bullfrog's incessant trumps, and vibrant horizons bounded by woods
One home in complete solitude with the stony shore of the vivid green pond just beyond
Fragrances of noble fruits transgressing the salt-soaked air
The odorous garden's sweet herbs encompassing the woods
Enchanting wild fruits sweeter than syrup from a maple tree, hoary blueberries tender to the touch
Serenity cloaking the black kernel of night
Azure tints of Walden Pond rippling like a spectrum of colored crystal
And in this, I discovered nature's beauty
By DOMINICK THREETON, LAUREN SINIBALDI and
I am from a peaceful pond
Smooth as silk, rippling softly
As nocturnal fish serenely swim
Undisturbed by an interloping tree
Dropping heinous acorns
Refreshing pine needles
Sweet pancakes served up by maple trees
Whose branches provide the wood for my amorphous campfire,
The only force that can transmute wood to ash
A train's hiss infringes the silence of
Surreptitious squirrels stalking the roof
As immutable rain trickles down a bark maze
Racing sedulously toward the water
A shadow covered tree line
Engulfs my birdhouse
With rolling fields of golden corn
Sweet as the candy craved for as a child
Transcending my taste buds
From a provincial field behind my house
Sensory experiences heightened by simplistic life
'What's in the woods?'
By MADISON HARADA
and ELISE LAVALEE
I am from the umbrage of pine and oak woods
Intrinsic beauty mitigating the sun's almighty rays
And decadent boards and dilapidated shingles
Sun-faded slate black and dusty grey
I am from the leisurely rhythm of my footsteps
Drumming against the coriaceous earth
And the rattling of carts on cobblestones
Which resonates like thunder in my thoughts
I am from the gossamer morning mist
Translucent and tranquil in the light of dawn
And the impenetrable labyrinth of smog surrounding me
Enigmatic and impossible to escape
I am from the assuaging lullaby of rain upon my roof
Easing me into a dream-filled slumber
And the heinous shouts of drunken men
Insurgent upon my overworked senses
I am from the free-spirited forests of perennial spring
Blowing willingly as the wind
And the burden of perpetual labor
Like the shackles around a convicts feet
'Simplicity! Simplicity! Simplicity!'
By ALANA STUGART, GARETT NOLAN and EMILY FULLER
I am the farthest star,
Closest to the largest galaxy
Shining brightly over provincial means of society
I am from stark, twilight woods
Winnowing pigeons above
Howling wolves below
Nestled between toes of a sumac,
Ants chatter after every meal
The crisp gentle air whistles
Between dueling mountains
Embarking into the unknown
Distant from the sleepless city,
I lay in tranquility
On docks fettered by sapphire streams
Under transient velvet clouds,
I bask in fascination
Fermenting an everlasting millennium
I permeate nature's perpetual horizon
There is no future, there can be no past
For nature makes the present last