Written by Noah Kim
I am an associate poetry editor apart of this semester's Inscape team and I have been working alongside the archive team. I was in charge of transcribing all the table of contents of each available archived issue of Inscape and Pipes of Pan into our website’s archive page. This project involved countless trips to the library's archives (the librarians did not even ask what I needed help with about halfway through, they would just stand and take me to the archives) and an extensive amount of picture taking. Upon nearing the end of this extensive project; after transcribing every table of contents from the archived issues in the Shatford library dating back to 1945, I stumbled across an issue that had no table of contents but instead just the collection of work. Naturally, skimming through the pages to get the titles and names of authors I had to read some of these older works. Two of them really caught my attention and appealed immensely to my particular poetic liking (I particularly like poetry that has a well flowing rhythm and rhyme scheme) as well as satisfying the nature of the Inscape brand. The Inscape brand focuses on work surrounding the eclectic, the human, the becoming, and the unexpected.
The first of these pieces was “Dream Sweet Dream” by J.T. Waterhouse. This piece was especially enjoyable because it held a resonating message regarding the pleasantry of dreaming and the pulling force of reality; the author managed to convey this message with a rhyming, well-structured poem that was sprinkled with some archaic terms of phrase.
Dream Sweet Dream
The current of this day, this hour,
Electrifies with sudden power,
Intensifies the sight and sound
Like the bugles' blast to hound;
'Til I feel with every nerve
(As eye follows the endless curve
Of visual universe), enchantment fills
This fragment Time quickly kills.
Now no sorrow can remain,
No consciousness of living pain;
Trouble ingrained deep and sure
Is tinged discreetly sweet and pure.
Alas, alack, the moment's gone
And I must face another dawn!
The poet enthralled my reading of this work through the excellent pace and rhyming tonality. The “AABB” scheme utilizing such friendly words (that still managed to flow extremely well together) such as “hour” and “power” or “nerve” and “curve” really managed to assert itself to the reader as a well-done poem. The electrifying undercurrent throughout the poem brought together a cohesive theme that ran alongside the overall message regarding the beauty found in dreaming and the disappointment we so often face when being pulled from that dream to “face another dawn!”
Aside from the pleasing poetic ensemble, I believe we chose this work because it fits the brand (which I believe probably has not changed all that much since Inscape’s beginning, as it has always been student-run) and appeals to the majority of the intended audience: college students. Waterhouse touches upon the displeasure of the current state of reality among the average college student and the fantasy of our dreams.
The “enchantment [which] fills” the mind of a student aspiring to make a difference, leave their mark, and find their career comes to life in the dream state and then once awakened “no sorrow can remain” and we must “face another dawn.” As stagnant as a college student’s position may seem (working jobs that pay little to nothing) it is important to realize that as long as the “current” and passion of our dreams stay strong we will achieve them; “fac[ing]” the day and trusting the process of each individual circumstance is the path to live such dreams.
The second poem that struck me from the 1947 issue was “Young Stallion” by Shirley Weinland. This purely caught my attention because of the stylistic expertise exhibited within the poem; I was thoroughly impressed as I first read through this piece. The flow of the poem and the rhyme scheme was simply done in such a manner that is easy to read and a pleasure to follow.
Sleek, strong muscles, rippling underneath
A smooth chestnut hide like a sword in its sheath
Haughty brown eyes and tail held high,
Proud young stallion passing by.
Tossing at the cars driving down the street,
Being very dainty where he puts his feet.
Pulling at the reins, steeping high,
Proud young stallion going by.
The fluency and imagery presented throughout the lines “Haughty brown eyes and tail held high,” and “Pulling at the reins, stepping high” keep the reader enthralled. The use of consistent rhyme and also referencing back to previous lines of the poem highlights the poetic skill at work. Especially the ending lines of each stanza bring about an immense question regarding the poet’s decision to change the word “passing” to “going.” This aspect of the poem unveils the progression of the stallion from being a beautiful animal being admired while simply “passing” by; however, the ending change from “passing” to “going” bestows a notable amount of command to the stallion.
The poem is a perfect read for someone just beginning to read poetry. It also has a thorough amount of subtle points asking to be analyzed by more experienced poetry readers as well. As the years have progressed the works that Inscape looks for has really not changed all that much (this is because the poets submitting have usually all been college students at the time) and these two poems from 1947 would have been great editions in today’s issues.
Noah Kim is a second year English major aspiring to acquire a B.A. in English and move on to attend Law School for his J.D. Within Inscape Noah is an associate poetry editor and is formatting the table of contents within the webpage. Noah highly values literature of all kinds and he believes literature is the microscope that uncovers the nuances of our society.
Blog Posts reflect the opinions of the writer and not the opinions of Pasadena City College or Inscape Magazine Editorial Staff Members.