Stanza Exercise

On shelves sit volumes splashed with ink,

This great world of knowledge only growing,

Scholars rush through here in a blink.

Can any say they’ve left truly knowing

All that which could have satisfied

The depths of a curious mind?



This stanza is six lines (a sestet). It is 8 syllables in iambic pentameter. The rhyme scheme is that of the last stanza of Shakespearean. This stanza is describing the Dickinson College library and its boundless potential for learning but kind of the tragedy of how little people really use that resource. Also, the library at a college is basically the center of academic activity so by discussing the way people sort of pass through the library without actually delving into it, the stanza also is saying that this is the sort of the attitude attributed to the whole college experience. People don’t take advantage of the opportunity of education, even if they pass all their classes and graduate. Also, the fact that there really is no point to taking advantage of education except to satisfy curiosity is a sad sentiment. It makes it seem that the library and education, in general, is wasted on masses of people who don’t really do anything with it and all the volumes in the library are just sitting there waiting for that curious mind to actually utilize them. That person is not there just to pass a class but because of genuine interest. If nobody is actually going to use resources out of interest than all education really is is work for works sake that students just rush through to grab the diploma and get out the door into the real world. But every one of them have that piece of paper that proves they were educated and that puts them above everyone who doesn’t have a piece of paper like it. That is what the books on those shelves are there for, their purpose is to act like stepping stones to get to that diploma so instead of actually delving into the great world of knowledge, people step on it to get up to another strata of society.

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