Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Student Theme

The Student Theme

by Ronald Wallace

The adjectives all ganged up on the nouns,

insistent, loud, demanding, inexact,

their Latinate constructions flashing. The pronouns

lost their referents: They were dangling, lacked

the stamina to follow the prepositions' lead

in, on, into, to, toward, for, or from.

They were beset by passive voices and dead

metaphors, conjunctions shouting But! or And!

The active verbs were all routinely modified

by adverbs, that endlessly and colorlessly ran

into trouble with the participles sitting

on the margins knitting their brows like gerunds

(dangling was their problem, too). The author

was nowhere to be seen; was off somewhere.

"The Student Theme" by Ronald Wallace, from The Uses of Adversity. © The University of Pittsburgh Press, 1998.

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