The Chimney Sweeper

Child Chimney Sweep

My mother died when I when I could barely talk, and my father sold me as a chimney sweep. When we shaved a chimney’s sweeps head we told him not to cry because this way the soot ¬†couldn’t damage his hair. That night he had a dream that all the chimney’s were locked in coffins and an Angel came and opened the coffins with a key, and they were happy and bathed in the river, leaving their chimney sweeping tools behind. The angel told tom that if he was good, he would achieve salvation. When Tom awoke from the dream he wanted happily to work, despite the dark, cold day. The poem ends with the somewhat ironic statement that if all do as they should they need not fear.

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Among Scientists

One can’t read poetry — One must feel poetry.

Alembic's Wooden Floor by Matt Baume

As a student who has been through four years of college courses, I’ve realized that the most significant classes I took required me to apply my knowledge. Those who are willing to argue will ask, “But doesn’t every assignment need you to apply what you’ve learned?” In a way yes, but I would propose that this is not always the case. When it comes to the sciences and technical courses, it was connecting those ideas to everyday life that made all the difference. Whether finding the volume of my Ice Mountain drinking bottle or diagnosing a fractured scaphoid, it was only then that I can truly learn something.

The poems that were read in class painted an image in my head. However, it was not until I analyzed that visual painting that I began to get an idea where the author was coming from. The poem which painted the most vivid picture was Those Winter Sundays by Robert Hayden.

Sundays too my father got up early… No one ever thanked him.

I’d wake and hear the cold splinter, breaking.

Growing up in a poor household, I would constantly have to help my father patch up the house. We would always do this on Saturdays, but this poem took me back to those early years. It took me back to when I was 12, when all I wanted to do was enjoy a bowl of cereal and morning cartoons. The cold splintering reminded me of my father’s steps through our house making that rich, cracking noise that old wooden floors would make.

…slowly I would rise and dress,

fearing the chronic angers of that house,

Like the author, I too would arise from bed unsure of what to expect. In my case, the chronic angers were concerns that made my father lose sleep at night. They were channeled from him onto me because like the author, what did I know?