In the interest of determining the worth of a Yale education, we hereby examine a poem by noted demi-puppet lit-blogger Elizabeth Skurnick. The poem is titled "Persephone in Hades."
(We're off to a good start. One could be only an Ivy Leaguer and come up with a title like that!)
"First we spread out like two twin sheets.
These were white sheets, unberibboned,
and I smoothed them with my bare
hands, ticking off the vines, the pachysandra,"
(Pachysandra! Good! Here we see evidence that Ms. Skurnick received her $120,000 worth. $120 worth anyway. $20 for a good thesaurus?)
"each winter solstice beyond the flowered
bedroom curtains. An acre of soil spread
into a thumbnail of garden: piled and wet,
heaped thriftily. Two moths drifted in the distance
and a dandelion bloomed like a whisker
on the summer side. For years we had grown flat
and placid as the Atlantic, marred only
by an India wind, occasional natterings."
(--"an India wind, occasional natterings"-- it sounds impressive, but haven't we lost the audience?)
"On August evenings we set sail,
I the lookout and you at the helm
traveling faster and further
until we tumbled to the bottom, swallowed
by Neptune in the wake of one enormous burp.
Just above our heads, the sun drifted hazily"
(Man, that was one enormous exciting metaphor.)
"Like an inverted, ninety-watt bulb.
We burned off our eyelashes.
That was us in the days
before a paper bag covered the candle"
(One can see this shit being read before an audience, who are falling out of their seats in boredom.)
"and the wax burned down to a black stump stick.
(Also: two sieves side-by-side
in the moonlight, while the stars
wept busily at the pluck of a mandolin.)"
(Maybe it's "good" poetry-- but what does it say to anyone? Where's the emotion and relevance? It reads like the rarefied impressions of an Ivy Leaguer, who's paid huge sums of money to become so rarefied.)
"Have I used up all my shots?
Four fillings, I broke, cracking the ice
in my drinks. You favored gin.
Some nights you'd take a sip and look
up, startled, as if I had entered--
or was suddenly leaving-- the room."
(I'd put the enormous burp right here, at the end.
Well, they liked it at Yale.)
--Stolen with apologies from the Fall 2003 Melic Review.