Wordsworth Is Too Much with Us

For my British-literature students, currently reading the Romantics


Wordsworth is too much with us late and soon;

reading and reading, we waste our hours,

missing out on nature with its flowers.

To his odes, we’ve sacrificed our youth.

All these words that, stacked, would reach the moon,

the pages we’ll be turning at all hours;

assaulting us with iambs while we cower,

into bed he makes us want to swoon.

He excites us–not! I’d rather, dude,

be one of those Philistines that I dis,

so might I quit reading his endless Prelude

and sink into my comfy bed so soothing,

or drink some beers while I watch Netflix.


Copyright 2018

T. Allen Culpepper




Animated by heaven’s fire,

but most active when it’s dim,

the solitary jaguar prowls

the earth, the river, the trees;

carnivorous at the food chain’s apex,

top cat in every sense, only man a threat,

stocky and steady on powerful legs,

to competitors paying no heed,

impervious to his prey’s doomed howls,

never doubting it’s all about him,

a skilled assassin, but not for hire.


Copyright 2018

T. Allen Culpepper

Reasoned from a Line of Sophocles in Translation

Suppose this business was inspired by gods.

What then can we mere mortals hope to do,

with our lesser nature, foolish sods,

but surrender to their capricious coup?


We stand exposed to lightning bolts from heaven,

shot down like bottles lined up on a shelf,

in rapid sequence, five and six and seven,

without means to defend ourselves.


Note: From Robert Bagg’s translation of Antigone, published by Harper Perennial.


Copyright 2018

T. Allen Culpepper