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


Rain Memory

Digging out the rain gear for an uncharacteristically wet week in Tulsa

brings back a vision of my undergraduate days in another T-town,

Tuscaloosa, Alabama, where rainy days were more routine than

exception, splashing through puddles from dorm to biology class

in a mass of oxford shirts and khaki, plastic slickers and duck boots.

Carless, I walked everywhere, paying little mind to the weather,

except for choosing the rainy days to show up for all my classes

so I could skip and lounge beside the duck pond on the sunny ones.


Copyright 2018

T. Allen Culpepper


At a conference with some students I’m advising,

the day’s last session ending, I’m taking

a late-evening walk across the campus

that we’re visiting, strolling around its

little pond and central buildings,

having been stuck inside all day

and feeling just a little claustrophobic.

The evening’s cool and pleasant

after a day unseasonably warm,

and the sprinklers have come on,

misting the air and wetting the sidewalks,

and suddenly I’m transported backward

thirty years in time to my own alma mater,

pacing the quadrangle late at night

when I’m lonely and can’t sleep,

or stumbling home, with or without my mates,

after a night out at one of the bars

along the strip. The memory has come

to me unexpected, and I’m not sure

if it’s a happy one or sad.


Copyright 2013

T. Allen Culpepper