After a disastrous waste of sophomore English, where I received credit for reading Frog and Toad are Friends onto a tape as my friends discussed the scholarly classics A Tale of Two Cities and Wuthering Heights (neither of which I have read to this day), I accepted the challenge of Honors and then AP English the next two years.
In preparing for the AP test, we read classics such as 1984, Animal Farm, Lord of the Flies, and Heart of Darkness. The teacher had a policy that one could skip her final (yes, she still had a final, in spite of also having to take the AP test), if you got something published or won an award of some kind for your writing. I placed in the Utah State Poetry Society contest with a sonnet I wrote named Simple Things.
More interesting than my prize-winning sonnet was another poem I wrote about our teacher, which I now present to you:
The Demon Queen
The light of the new day breaks slowly over the horizon.
As alarm clocks are hit over and over all over the valley,
For just ten more minutes of sleep,
One Demon-Fiend arises ready for the new day to begin.
Teeth gnash one with another, and the jungle hair
Of the beast is pulled from the eyes
To reveal a sinister gleam, a glare, a terrifying gaze.
The Demon-Fiend is ready to capture her victims.
As she travels to the place of hunting,
The evil beast plans the first trap.
Hah, laughed the creature, No one can escape me!
I shall destroy all those who come near my path!
The cruel plan is so fiendishly clever in its intricacies.
I shall lure my soon-to-be victims into thinking
That I am their friend. I shall make them work for me,
But still think that I am working for them.
When they are fully enveloped in my power,
I will move in for the kill. I will destroy their hope.
I will shatter all their trust in others, but
They will still work to gain my favour.
When those hopeless wrecks of human beings are laid to rest,
The fiend will pretend to mourn,
But only to pull others within her grasp.
It is a never-ending cycle of target, capture, destroy, move on.
As the Demon retires for the night from a hard day of hunting,
She is constantly planning new devices of beguilement.
To weaken them, I shall have my fellow demon-creatures
All attack them at once, when they least expect it.
In their time of feast celebration, when all should be joyful,
I shall gather together my legions, and surround my victims.
When they are covered on all sides, they will be forced
To turn to me. I shall use them for my gain, and discard them.
The night slowly falls upon all the land.
A precious few are still awake, trying to thwart the plans of
The Evil One. There must be a way, they reason, but
There is no hope. A faint cry echoes, Nona Eleison.
Our teacher was pretty intense, and we were reading some pretty intense content (although I lucked out not having to read Beowulf that year), so I wonder if she had a large collection of anonymously written works about her slid under her door like the above poem was. I wonder if she knew I wrote it. I wonder if she knew what it meant. There is reference to the large paper due right after Christmas break and the fact that her large papers were often due right when big projects in other classes were due. Then there was the jungle hair. I don't know how to describe it, but there was always a claw in it. This is not the traditional Utah/Idaho claw (if you've seen it, you know what I'm talking about), but it was a claw nonetheless.