"Young Scholar in His Study: Melancholy" by Pieter Codde‘Rain’ by James Preston Pack The Society December 3, 2019 Beauty, Culture, High School Submissions, Poetry 8 Comments Rain, lapping at the windows fast, falls cold and ceaseless, painting lines of marble on the silvered glass while clouds cast dark and thunder whines; but these walls will not let it pass and through a cloud-gap sunlight shines. I watch it from the darkened room, for I am waiting for my doom. As I sling off my coat, I sit, watch fire lighting the dark den, as shadows, dancing, candle-lit, crawl closer and turn into men who swarm around me; now one sits and eyes me, cornered beast, here penned. I look away, ashamed, and think what had been wrought by debt and drink. He looks me over, wondering what impulses of anger can provoke such deeds, such awful things— he asks me, knowing, why I ran, and hears the truth; I cannot sing my lies: I say I killed a man. He owed me ten, he thought it five, I could not leave a cheat alive. His sigh clouds up against the glass and mingles with the droplets there, still falling, as if this young lass had never killed, or never shared her deed with others. Then he asks— why had I laid my actions bare. He asks me why I thought to kill to right a debt, to pay a bill. Why had I killed?—it was not right to ask me that, I told the man; there is no cause, I said, to fight, to kill, make war, but that we can: we must, I fear, make right by might, it is our kills that help us stand. The falling rain makes dark the room; I am still waiting for my doom. James Preston Pack is an eleventh grader at Killian Hill Christian School in Lilburn, Georgia. Views expressed by individual poets and writers on this website and by commenters do not represent the views of the entire Society. The comments section on regular posts is meant to be a place for civil and fruitful discussion. Pseudonyms are discouraged. The individual poet or writer featured in a post has the ability to remove any or all comments by emailing submissions@ classicalpoets.org with the details and under the subject title “Remove Comment.” Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window) 8 Responses Joe Tessitore December 3, 2019 This is incredible – eleven years old, indeed! You lost me with the “young lass” – I’m not sure who she is or how she got into your poem, but I don’t care. It’s still incredible. May I suggest that you go on YouTube and listen to Marty Robbins’ “El Paso” – I’m pretty sure you’ll like it. Reply Joe Tessitore December 3, 2019 Oops, eleventh grader! “Indeed” nonetheless! Reply James A. Tweedie December 3, 2019 Joe, My read is that the poem’s protagonist is a woman, a point obfuscated by the male subject of the accompanying picture, the male gender of the poet and the repeated references to the imagined (or real) presence of men (or a man) in the room (cell or “den”) along with the attendant masculine pronouns. If I am correct, then this surprising twist reveals our biased inclination to mistakenly pre-presume that the murderer is male. As for the poem itself, it successfully captures a graphic atmosphere using visually descriptive language to great effect. Whether intentional or not, the irregular rhyme and rhythmic structure reflects and underscores the unstable mental state of the killer (which in turn reminds me of the mental breakdown of the central character in Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment). I felt raw power in this poem and commend the author both for writing it and for submitting it. I hope to see more in the future. Reply peter venable December 3, 2019 Good poem but being retired in mental health, I must inquire, if any of this is real to you–depression, grief, etc. TELL some adult! If it’s merely a poem, keep composing. Reply Leo Zoutewelle December 3, 2019 I’d say that Peter’s comment above is quite a compliment to the achieved realism of the poet in his work. Congratulations! Reply C.B. Anderson December 3, 2019 Are you the next serial high-school killer or not? I can’t tell, but I hope you won’t suddenly appear in my neighborhood. Yet you have already done so. You are scary, which I presume was your intention. Or maybe, God reduced to supervisionary status, you just wanted to get published. You have succeeded and need trouble us no more. Reply Joe Tessitore December 3, 2019 I don’t know what the profile is of a young man who goes terribly wrong. I do know that this is a young man who can tell a hell of a good story and has the courage to do it. Reply David Paul Behrens December 4, 2019 My first thought, when I started reading this poem, was that it reminded me of Edgar Allan Poe. Very imaginative, and let us hope that is all there is to it. Reply Leave a Reply Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published.CommentName* Email* Website Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.