My poem is one of the most classic and popular poetic pieces of all time. It describes the biggest question that humanity has always had; life, or death. To be, or not to be, to exist, or to have no bearings. The piece thoroughly explains the ins and outs of the human condition in its strive for success in the world at the price of pain. It is a focal part of the story of Hamlet, and gives off an emotion so real that people still reference the poem hundreds of years later. I like this piece not only because I enjoy Hamlet, but also because I think it is profound, and is easy to give meaning to in a setting like the WW Fenn Speaking Contest. The piece is so confounded that it almost feels like over doing it to give it any extra emotion. The only catch is that the piece is extremely hard to remember and present without tripping over my own words. It is required that all the words are annunciated clearly and concisely to give the listener a true representation of what it means. I hope to show the work at have put into mastering this literary genius on Friday. The WW Fenn Speaking Contest drums up a lot of anxiety for many people, including me. I am not someone who enjoys speaking in public, though purely because I am afraid of making a fool of myself. I hope to do as best as I can on this contest, but would rather not have to perform my piece in front of the whole school, especially when everyone expects a perfect performance from a ninth grader. Though my piece is short and doesn’t look like much, I think it packs just as much of a literary punch as any of the other much denser pieces.
Having walked in the hall for the two-thousand three-hundred and fifty-fourth time it was like any other day to the average Fenn scholar, but to Luke, it was different. Today was Lukes first day as a senior, the grand halls of Fenn rang with the history of Luke’s time there. As Luke turned frighteningly fast to the right of the Boll Building math with hallway, he saw his friends for the first time since before the summer. Being a senior at Fenn means a few things, it means that you know the school inside and out, every hallway and every fastest route to any class. It also means, that everyone will be looking up to these seniors, as guides and examples for what to do throughout the year. Anyone who has went to Fenn since fourth grade understands the responsibilities of being a senior, every move a senior makes or doesn’t make reflect on the entire school. Luke, having known he would be looked up to, was planning on making the best example of himself, to better the Fenn Community. A path through a educational career at Fenn is not a straight and simple one, it twists and turns and bends one to its breaking point. During the ninth grade, not only must one have to survive the academic challenges, but they also must be prepared to do the full application process while completing a high school course load. No, 9th grade is not a task for someone who wants to take a year to ride out and relax, its for the people who can double down and get their work done. Luke knew that every week would be a challenge and he would have to put in his full effort. Throughout this year, having known all of this, I think I have completed my 9th grade goals and more.
The Fears Of Difference
“Better to sleep with a sober cannibal than a drunk Christian.”
People that are different are scary. Meeting new people can be one of the most nerve racking experiences of your life. Finding out that they are extremely different from you can be even worse. I have had this experience multiple times, and have had to learn how to get around the differences. You have to find a middle ground and make the experience interesting. One time that I remember this happening to me, was on my soccer team in 7th Grade. In 7th Grade I was on the Strikers soccer team, which was tons of fun, the thing was that I didn’t know anybody on the team. As it turned out, most of the people on the team where actually extremely different to me, not only in the way they played, but in the way they thought. At first it was very challenging because it’s hard to make friends with people that you’re not similar to, but as we played more as a team I felt us come together as a group. I think the way we did this was by finding a middle ground that we all agree on, and build a friendship from there. Another time I’ve experienced this was when I was first skippering a 420, and my crew was a quiet kid that like to keep to himself and focus on the task at hand. To be successful, there has to be a strong bond of trust and communication between the skipper and the crew throughout their time together. I figured out that it was best if I did most of the talking, and he could butt in at any time to point anything out. It ended up working out perfectly because he wasn’t pressured at all, but he ended up having opportunities to take control of a situation and face his fears. No matter how different you think you are from someone, there’s always a middle ground.
A happy man is ignorant. Personally, I would rather be wise. What good is it to be happy if you can’t understand the world around you? I think it’s important to be wise over being happy because of a couple things. First, A wise man must have many experiences, good or bad, it gives them knowledge and peace. An ignorant man must stay out, never wandering far, never taking risks, and worst of all, missing out on the experiences that a wise man would have. Even if an ignorant person is happy, there is less value to it. If you’re wise, every bit of happiness is earned through enlightenment. An ignorant person is blind, they don’t see the world for what it is, and they will never understand the value in knowledge. Only a wise person could truly understand the importance of education and the pursuit of enlightenment. Second, even if an ignorant person is educated, they choose not to see the world for what it is, they choose to ignore what is going on and stick to their own business. While this might keep them happy, it makes society lose out overall.
First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
This poem illustrates the dangers of ignorance, and how it is better to face the world and all of its horrors, rather then acting like it is not their. I would rather be the person helping out at my own risk, then pretending that I don’t notice. Being wise comes with a cost.
Every once in a while, in the process of exploring the vast expanses of poetry in history, you find a gem. A gem I found, recently, was A Child’s Christmas In Wales. This poem hit me in a way that not many have, lately. No other poem can so accurately portray what it’s like to be little and to look up at such a big world. It does all this through similes, metaphors, and parallel structure
“FFTradition is not the worship of ashes, but the preservation of fire.”
Tradition is something that is completely natural and can’t be artificially created. I enjoy traditions because they are based on connections and memories you have had over the years. One of my favorite traditions in my family is how we celebrate Christmas in our household. All of our family and friends have a great time as we celebrate Christmas together.
Time is precious, don’t waste it. I have had many experiences where I have squandered the small amount of time that I have been given. A particular memory that sticks out to me was in 4th grade when I was writing the second half of my fiction story to be entered into the Travers Writing Prize Competition. The story was dystopian, and mimicked many of the young adult books that had been coming out at the time. This meant that naturally it was outlandish, and I had fun with it. When I was about halfway through I started to get slightly off track, my story went more and more off the rails. It started to lose direction as new characters kept joining at the point when the story should have been slowly ending. It wasn’t until I had written 1,000 words over two days that I realized that my entire story had lost its purpose. I spent so much time writing but I hadn’t spent enough time thinking and reflecting on how my story would shape out. I decided I would have to completely re-write the second part of my story, changing everything I had worked on. Losing something that you have spent so much time on is devastating, but sometimes it is necessary to step backwards to step forwards. Since then I have also learned to pace myself while writing, and to thinking and plan before jumping into a piece. I ended up winning the Travers Writing Prize, even after I had re-written the entire second part of the story. Sometimes the only way to build something well is to destroy it and start over
The structure of your life. As a teenager, it feels like you’re all on your own, but you’re nothing without your parents. Even though it doesn’t feel like it, every moment of your day from when you wake up to when your head hits your pillow is all due to your parents. Not just because they work hard to give you a home, but also because they are your emotional support, what you fall back on. They take your side and defend you on anything, your parents are an endless supply of support and unconditional love. When you’re in trouble or aren’t doing well, your parents are always on your side, even if it doesn’t feel that way. Thanksgiving is a time to give back to those who care for you. In the holiday season it’s easy to get lost in the presents, candies, trees, lights, and nutcrackers, so it is important to take a step back sometimes. Thanksgiving is a chance to be truthful and loving without giving presents or sitting under a tree. Thanksgiving is that under appreciated holiday that we always forget how much we value until we get a chance to give thanks. I would like to start the Thanksgiving season by thanking my mom for her endless amounts of support for me and my siblings. I would like to thank my mom for her kindness and the amount of love that she gives to the world. So, on thanksgiving, turn off your phone, be present, and give thanks for all the amazing things that the world gives you. Sometimes you need to step back and reflect to step forward and do.