The day I found evil around,
The dark, sharp corners of this world of ours,
Lost, broken, and alone in Earth’s worst hours,
The night I heard Satan’s harsh sound,
I buried my bones into a dirt mound,
Because I knew that Satan devours,
As everyone else here sadly cowers,
The bones of women not hidden by ground.
And when the sun will finally rise up,
In the blood-smeared sky of planet Earth,
There will be no blood in the holy cup,
There is no God, not even her of hearth,
Not even a single, innocent pup,
Will ever again be of joyful birth.
This poem is actually one of my favorites not just because of the backstory behind it, which I’m going to go ahead and tell, but also because of the themes I managed to address in a short period of passionate writing.
I had an awful professor [with serious ego issues], and he started trying to take that out on my grades since I was turning in solid work without being highly attentive in his class. I’d give him very high quality papers and exam responses, and he’d give me C-‘s on it no matter what I did. He also made it a point to start calling me in for office hours, which he’d just use to insult me for extended periods of time.
Anyways, he told me I couldn’t write him a quality sonnet in a single night for one of our assignments (not because it was hard, but because I, personally, was “incapable”). Just to prove a point, I went ahead and wrote this sonnet the morning it was due — I was sure to incorporate some of my favorite literary items and fundamental themes, such as Satan, John Milton’s Paradise Lost
, King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table
, Greek Mythology
, and female oppression (especially the sexual assault and rape far too many women undergo), into the sonnet. I layered as much depth as I could into 14 lines and turned this piece in.
Of course, he gave me another C- on this sonnet — but, he didn’t have any feedback on it. It was another C- simply because I’d upset him by zoning out during class a few times (it was first thing in the morning, I was taking a lot of credits and difficult medications, and I was exhausted — I feel bad for not paying more attention since education is so precious, but, on anything that was graded, I turned in quality work since I don’t like to put my name on anything that I’m not proud of. I wasn’t fully innocent in all of this since I didn’t do so well at paying attention in his class, but I suspect I didn’t deserve such foul treatment by a professor and a supposed “professional”. I was able to keep up with his coursework because I’d taken nearly identical classes before, and I’m fortunate for that).
I also love writing about Satan, whereas my professor was into poems about love, lust, and sex, so… This was the poem that really set him over the edge. I’m proud to say I passed this class by the end of the course — not with flying colors (he made me retake the midterm and the final just because he could, only to give me the same grades again on drastically differing rewrites), but I managed to get the grade I needed and get out of his classroom once and for all. Anytime I bumped into him after the class was over, he would turn explosively red and completely disregard my existence.
This sonnet isn’t my best work, and years later, I see a lot about it that could be better in terms of the formal aspects. Regardless, I won’t be changing this one because of the energy and passion that went into writing it.
I know it deserved a bit more than C-/D grade. I might’ve hated that professor, but I LOVED writing an actual sonnet about something so important to me. As I actually wrote the sonnet, the themes came from a highly genuine place (literature and causes that mean the world to me), and I hoped that someone somewhere would read it someday and feel the love and support I put behind it. I delved deep into my core as I framed tales of sexual assault and rape within these verses.
What started as an opportunity to stick it to some professor transformed into something painful and real for me. I’m glad for this, because I gained an authentic, poetic experience from what was supposed to be just another university assignment. I can only hope my readers receive something similar from encountering this sonnet.
On the topic of my terrible professor, I’m sorry that educators like this exist. And yet, this experience gave me even more appreciation for those teachers and professors I’ve had who actually do care about their students — the ones who celebrate their students’ work instead of invalidating it without justifiable reason. That makes all the difference in the world for so many of us.
I’m not, by any means, saying this sonnet is beautiful or immaculate — still, writing it was a challenge I thoroughly enjoyed, and I was really pleased with it back when I turned it in all those years ago. It ended up meaning something to me, and holding something important within its fourteen lines.
Therefore, I’m leaving this poem as is. It’ll remain extremely raw; that’s the only way it should be.
Poem, backstory, and photograph are the exclusive creations and property of Ami J. Sanghvi.
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