South Williamsport students share poems

As an extended activity to Henry David Thoreau’s “Walden,” Amber Heggenstaller’s 10th grade advanced English class at South Williamsport Area High School composed poems to portray the dichotomy between nature and the infringement of societal norms on individuals’ lives. Their poems convey how a world driven by greed, technology and haste destroys the ability to acquire inner fulfillment and appreciation for the natural beauty in life.

The following are the poems written by the students:

‘The Depletion of Simplicity’



We were from a simple life once

Whose peace and solitude engulfed our hearts and minds

While starry skies twinkled in the dense forest

And cold, crisp air stung our skin

Where the subtle crunch of shriveled leaves

Liberated an earthy aroma from the dark soil

While the distant echoes of the owl’s hoots awakened

Quick-footed foxes who sprinted through the shadows

Now society knocks at our door

Our desires transmute into power

Entangled with corruption

Flowers wilt, creeks run dry

Hopes and dreams fetter by hate’s encompassing darkness

Love tainted by society’s unrealistic expectations

Stringent greed and lust threaten to consume us

As the sun dwindles across the horizon

Colors drain away

Depicting a place of venom

The undying desperation to find oneself

I am not from this heinous world

‘Disengagement from Decadence’



I am from solitude,

from a humble dwelling, scarce silverware, salutary ambience.

From yeast-free bread to home-grown food.

I am from umbrage beneath the foliage, rays of sunlight beaming.

Open spaces, room to wonder. From hazy, dewy mornings, auburn evenings.

The melody of whippoorwills chanting,

soft footfalls muffled by grass, wind whispering in my ear.

From an uncommitted life, timeless tranquility.

From my erudite philosophies, drenched with aspersion toward mankind.

I am from the unspoken, profound forest.

You are from a dystopian Society,

From intrusive trains, profane industry, acrid pollution.

Where minds are clouded by imperious forces.

From a place with proclivity to buy, spend, gorge.

Where megalomania thrives.

You are from self-indulgence, decadence, and pretentious origin,

fettered to possessions in an endless competition for grandeur.

You are from desecration of innocence,

elimination of sanctity, transmutation of thought.

Is there no limit to Society’s immutable desire for more?

‘Depravity and Immaculacy’




I’m from nature

From amorphous fog slumbering on the pond

Immutably cool, moonless nights

Like man’s fires, submerging us in its infernal heat

Liberating us from the fetters of society

From streets permeated by abyssal smog and overcrowded living

I’m from drivel and decadence

From jaded living and excess

I’m from heinous attempts at introspection

From transgressions of human sanctity

From the devolution of simplicity into complexity

I’m from the scourge of society

Disabused of binding precepts and transcending superficiality

I’m from the dissolution of materialism

To the revivification of spiritualism

From pristine and untainted purity

From soaring eagles to burrowing moles

And harmonious hymns of wood thrush and whippoorwills

That fills the air with a hum of life

I’m from freedom

Liberated by nature

‘Satiating Simplicity’


I am from concrete decadence, whistling engines and architectural beauty jaded by man’s haste

Rows of indistinctive houses glaring back at one another

Impotent people fettered by man-made immutable dwellings

Salt fish aromas festering inside closed doors

Shameful neighbors, caught in a perpetual state of megalomania corrupting my peaceful inhabitance

Even though the sweetest fantasy presented itself already

They preferred to adorn their houses with inane objects

The multitude observed the stars as if some fantastical dream hid itself among twinkling inanimate objects in the night sky

Worrying too deeply about what the future holds

I am from the land of greed

I could not stay

I escaped to live simply

To appreciate grand pine trees, bullfrog’s incessant trumps, and vibrant horizons bounded by woods

One home in complete solitude with the stony shore of the vivid green pond just beyond

Fragrances of noble fruits transgressing the salt-soaked air

The odorous garden’s sweet herbs encompassing the woods

Enchanting wild fruits sweeter than syrup from a maple tree, hoary blueberries tender to the touch

Serenity cloaking the black kernel of night

Azure tints of Walden Pond rippling like a spectrum of colored crystal

And in this, I discovered nature’s beauty

‘Sweet Simplicity’



I am from a peaceful pond

Smooth as silk, rippling softly

As nocturnal fish serenely swim

Undisturbed by an interloping tree

Dropping heinous acorns

Refreshing pine needles

Sweet pancakes served up by maple trees

Whose branches provide the wood for my amorphous campfire,

The only force that can transmute wood to ash

A train’s hiss infringes the silence of

Surreptitious squirrels stalking the roof

As immutable rain trickles down a bark maze

Racing sedulously toward the water

A shadow covered tree line

Engulfs my birdhouse

With rolling fields of golden corn

Sweet as the candy craved for as a child


Transcending my taste buds

From a provincial field behind my house

Sensory experiences heightened by simplistic life

‘What’s in the woods?’



I am from the umbrage of pine and oak woods

Intrinsic beauty mitigating the sun’s almighty rays

And decadent boards and dilapidated shingles

Sun-faded slate black and dusty grey

I am from the leisurely rhythm of my footsteps

Drumming against the coriaceous earth

And the rattling of carts on cobblestones

Which resonates like thunder in my thoughts

I am from the gossamer morning mist

Translucent and tranquil in the light of dawn

And the impenetrable labyrinth of smog surrounding me

Enigmatic and impossible to escape

I am from the assuaging lullaby of rain upon my roof

Easing me into a dream-filled slumber

And the heinous shouts of drunken men

Insurgent upon my overworked senses

I am from the free-spirited forests of perennial spring

Blowing willingly as the wind

And the burden of perpetual labor

Like the shackles around a convicts feet

‘Simplicity! Simplicity! Simplicity!’


I am the farthest star,

Closest to the largest galaxy

Shining brightly over provincial means of society

I am from stark, twilight woods

Winnowing pigeons above

Howling wolves below

Nestled between toes of a sumac,

Ants chatter after every meal

The crisp gentle air whistles

Between dueling mountains

Embarking into the unknown

Distant from the sleepless city,

I lay in tranquility

On docks fettered by sapphire streams

Under transient velvet clouds,

I bask in fascination

Fermenting an everlasting millennium

I permeate nature’s perpetual horizon

There is no future, there can be no past

For nature makes the present last