The General Prologue

Picture of the duck pond styled like a wood cut print


Whan that Aprill with his shoures sote
The drought of Marche hath perced to the rote…
Than longen folk to goon on pilgrimage…

In “The General Prologue,” the narrator of The Canterbury Tales explains how the coming of Spring inspires people to go on pilgrimage. He meets a group of pilgrims at an inn, joins their company, and offers a detailed description of each member of the group. The narrator’s portraits are vivid and often satirical. Clothes, facial features, and behaviors are loaded with clues about social rank and commentary on spiritual health.

The Campus Canterbury Tales

The portraits below were prepared by the students of ENG 201 in response to a creative assignment. The result is a collection of vivid portraits of common campus figures.


Portraits

The Campus Canterbury Tales

The portraits below were prepared by the students of ENG 201 in response to a creative assignment. The result is a collection of vivid portraits of common campus figures.

The Neat Freak

by Carrie Zhang, Haverford ‘22

A NEAT FREAK there was, it was her plan
Fro the tyme that she first bigan
To live in her dorm to have labeled drawers,
categorized shelves, and vacuumed floors.
Ful worthily organized was her bedroom at home,
And there she had learned, like many others,
Her habits of cleanliness, instilled by her mother,
Which she carried with her when she went to college
To buttress her in her pursuit of knowledge.
At class when she got a handout or a flyer,
she put it immediately into her binder;
Her notebook was arranged by subject;
No detail did she neglect.
Her debit card was in her wallet,
Which she kept in a pocket of her jacket,
And this she hung on her closet door,
Where it was easily reached for.
Towels, personal care items, and office things
were kept in clear stacked storage bins
And under her bed, she put anything leftover,
so that it would not be tripped over.
On weekends she washed the cases of her pillows
and all her clothes, for a couple nickels.
She plucked out the hairs which tended to, sadly,
fall into compartments in her shower caddy.
She always made sure to throw away food
Or rats might come invade her room.
On weekends and Friday nights, when there were parties,
Upstairs she heard voices and stomping feet,
But as long as her room looked neat,
She closed her eyes, and slept at ease.


Money Motivated

by Jacob Landsberg, Haverford ‘21

A business student there was, as driven as they come,
He spent his days in accounting, calculating sums.
Yet, a second in class was a second misspent,
Especially with networking events to frequent.
After all, when C’s get degrees,
Why would he waste time with Socrates?
In a world where cash is king,
“Business major” sure had a nice ring.
With December arrived the flurry of snow,
As his job interviews began to grow,
He longed for a job that would overpay
At Goldman or maybe B of A.
Waiting for his interviewer, palms sweating
Hoping for that water the receptionist was getting.
He had practiced his handshake a thousand times,
Up the corporate ladder, he hoped to climb.
He’d left econ to the academics and tryhards,
Business, he knew, was the way into Vanguard.
He was certainly worthy of the position,
His LinkedIn page alone warranted admission.
He’d put away his khakis and his polos—all in pink,
Now he sat in suit and tie, complete with cufflinks,
A jacket of black with pants to match,
Shoes shone, without even a scratch,
A white shirt, freshly ironed, and his look was done
Straight out of “How to Get a Job, 101.”
Yet, if he missed out on the job, it wouldn’t be too bad,
He could always work at JP Morgan, thanks to dad.


The Pokémon Go Player

by Helena Frisbie-Firsching, Haverford ‘21

There was a fellow arriving to Cope Field,
A group of folks following at his heels.
A battle they were to have, on the app
Pokémon Go against the foe, pinap
Berries used in the catch. Clad in warm hat
And coat and red scarf, his outfit down pat
To withstand the cold but also tap quick
His phone screen and of his Pokémon pick
A team with type advantage for the raid.
He often comes to the motley group’s aid,
In his pack is a portable charger;
Cold’s unkind to phones. It’s bad to wager
Raid rewards on batteries of low charge.
His charging cable collection is large;
He can lend for any model or make,
If his Instinct gym they will not soon take.
A normal glove or mitten he has none
Rather the fingerless kind, which are fun
And practical, so that he can keep most
Of his hand comfortably warm, yet boast,
Having dealt the most damage to Ho-Oh.
And for this game which dearly he loves so,
He will abandon his schoolwork for quests,
Loitering at Stokes, not getting much rest.
He is a physics major, as most are,
His shoes worn from not traveling by car.
Many kilometers a week walks he
To hatch eggs and maybe catch a shiny.
Always with his phone out and looking down,
He scuttles his way throughout Havertown.


The Haverbro

by Caroline Ford, Haverford ‘21

A HAVERBRO there was, an athlete, at that,
A popular social caste in absence of a frat.
Truly one who values social status and skill;
This athlete cares most for FIFA and chill.
A white boy, ™, with dirty blond hair,
Tall in his stature, and pale face shaved bare.
A regular at the GIAC to lift weights and run
When outside of practices to condition,
Always trying to remain hydrated
With a gallon water jug, rather weighted.
On the DC’s right side he, with Gatorade in hand,
Would oft sit and embody the Nike brand.
Lacrosse stick looped through his navy backpack,
A ‘Ford sweatshirt he sported, bright red and black,
Preppy Lacoste shorts, with Adidas shoes to match,
So that any girl would think him quite a catch.
A white snapback worn low atop his head
While he sat with his legs generously spread;
His position conveying confidence
In both frank manner and ego immense,
Surrounded by many of his fellow bros
Discussing economics, I suppose.
And alas, when the weekend arrives again,
As parties come around, every now and then;
A champion of pong, he plays through the night,
And well can he consume much Natty Lite.
He is full ready to drink, juul, and dance,
And perhaps give his homework just one glance.


The Haverbro

by Gwynne Dulaney, Bryn Mawr ‘20

There was but once a Haverbro
Who loved to compliment his flow
With slick hair gel and rich pomade
So that his flow would never fade.
On his shirt ‘twas so finely embossed
His team name for baseball or lacrosse.
And maybe a hoodie intended to match
So that he would thus be considered a catch.
And Airbuds placed within his ears
So hoots and cries he could not hear.
He was well-versed in all the sports
Made clear to all by his fine gym shorts.
For always this man looked never meek
But always buff and quite on-fleek.
He was down to party, and shed a tear
If ever there lacked some ice-cold beer.
And all he greeted in much good mood
With a deep and illustrious cry of, “dude!”
He showed his love but on a whim
With offers to hit the Gardner gym.
A worldly man, of deep deep thought
He made it clear he knew a lot.
For only a man who’s not a fool
Knows it best to smoke a Juul.
For no man of wit would willingly beget
The health problems brought on by a cigarette.
These bits of wisdom were brought to be
By majoring in philosophy.
And every day, like fine clockwork he went-y
To eat ample amounts of chicken tendies.
And all girls nearby would be in fear and dreading
Of that much-too-common thing they call man-spreading.
One thing bound to set him in a rage
Was the unfair elimination of the stage
That graced the room of the good DC
How silly could this dear bro be?
A funny, silly, harmless lot
Those Haverbros we love a lot.
For where would all the Bi-Co be
Without their positivity?
Haverbros, we salute to you,
Our bros so noble and so true.


The F–kboy

by Becca Garfinkle, Bryn Mawr ‘20

An F-CKBOY there was, upon the grounds,
In shorts in all seasons was he found
No matter if snow should land,
The shorts he wore, always at hand.
Upon his feet he wore some slides
From Adidas that were his pride,
With socks or not, it did not matter,
So long as his steps did not clatter.
His hair was in great need of a trim,
Hidden underneath his hat’s brim
It mattered not for no one could see.
Despite his college’s great plea,
He rode everywhere upon his board,
On it he placed a sticker hoard.
His shirt always said Supreme,
Like the others on his team.
They shot the balls into the hoop
And always traveled as a group.
Of average were his looks,
He ignored all of his books,
Instead he spent the day swiping
Left and right, before typing,
“Hey girl, you’re so hot”
A girl he has never caught.
To think he studies communications,
To live up to his father’s expectations,
He dreams of taking over the firm;
His father always makes him squirm,
When he gets the credit card bill,
His son he wants to kill,
When he sees how much cash
His son has spent all on trash.
The red solo cups he buys in bulk,
With his team they always sulk,
For their parties no one attends
Because they have no other friends.
Ladies if you see him stay away,
I promise you he is no good lay.


The Student-Athlete

By Aine Carolan, Haverford ‘20

At Haverford there was a coy STUDENT-ATHLETE;
The classic jock description his character did not meet.
He looked the part: tall, emblazoned with the Ford logo,
But the unpleasant demeanor he did forgo.
He must juggle two very different vocations
Because of his love for lacrosse and for education.
He begins the day early with a few hours of exercise,
Then heads to the Coop for the breakfast he buys.
He refocuses his mind on his second passion,
The English language, which he writes in such a fashion
That reading his essays is a godsend for his professors
Who usually act toward athletes as harsh assessors.
He flips zealously through Steinbeck and Walker
Before he returns yet again to his athletic locker.
There he dons his pads, his helmet; he grabs his stick
And out to the field he goes to run some defensive picks.
After practice, he returns the gear to their hooks,
Starting where he left off with his pen and notebooks.
Settling into bed, looking down at his cleats,
He goes to sleep happy he can awake and repeat.
This boy of twenty-one, who is perhaps barely a man,
Is astutely aware many think he is completely deadpan.
Of towering stature and team attire, he is indistinguishable
But his enthusiasm for his studies is inextinguishable.
He greets all who he sees, athletes and scholars alike
As he zooms through the campus atop his blue bike.
Many are quick to conclude he sticks to the team flank,
And accuse him of thinking he is of high social rank.
But with kindness and humor he makes his rounds,
Bringing much-needed positivity to campus grounds.
He is most accurately described as charming and empathetic,
The impression you may first get of him is only an aesthetic.


the academic

by Aurora Lewis, Haverford ‘19

i met you in your office, which was three
floors up in an antiquarian house
sinking into the ground more quickly than
venice. i imagined one day, perhaps
even before i graduated, the
earth would swallow up the place completely.
the earthworms would rejoice for that
historic, meaty fuel—the eaves that
bespoke character and a history
of rain, the worn velvet chairs in the lounge
downstairs that witnessed years of crossed thighs.
or else i met you in the stem building,
an austere affair of glass and iron,
which rose with modern angles from the ground
and echoed slightly, like heart chambers. i
always imagined that as i walked, feet
clacking on the cool floors, a splash of
color in a white, white hall—a bloodless
heart, a heart pumping air.
there are two ways this story could go. i
could climb up three floors and sit and rejoice
in joyce. or I could spin out atoms from
imagination: carbon, nitrogen.
are you stem or humanistic?
should I say “Realistic” or “Book-Bound”?
in tweed, a blazer, or a white lab coat?
your glasses are gold and wire-rimmed, or
they are plastic safety goggles that leave
red crescents on your cheeks. books,
pages folded over and inked over,
form the leaning tower on your desk, or
else the periodic table has a
home on your wall, next to a poster of
darwin, biology’s own john lennon.
the real question, though, is not the state of
your clothes, or the manner of books that line
your shelves. the real question is, can your
un-common languages communicate?
will idea-phobia be the
xenophobia of academia,
a lingering hypocrisy you cannot
expunge completely? will you condone the
lofty oaths of loyalty pledged by
the pupils who build barricades out of
lactate dehydrogenase and shelley?
will you shelter in towers of ivory,
utilize a jargon you guard with careful
intent, as though it’s a do-it-yourself
manual to Full Enlightenment?
what really matters is this: will you raise a
generation of thinkers un-thinking
connections, un-crossing trajectories
and reinforcing the safety of
ready-made, pre-approved, straight lines of thought?
you say you won’t—that you educate not
obfuscate–but sometimes, i’m not so sure
(i swear i want to believe you mean it)
…but i don’t know…
i hope not.


The Swiper

By Marley Asplundh, Haverford ‘19

The entrance of the DC is watched by a SWIPER
Who metes out the fate of each hungry griper,
Hoping they have meals to last the semester.
If on you she has mercy, be sure to bless her.
She sits on her stool as each eater walks by,
Swiping, counting, charging, sometimes with a sigh,
For when boorish students walk in without “thank you,”
She still swipes folks through, even those who out rank you.
Her hair always styled, her nails without chip,
She’ll scroll through her phone keeping up with what’s hip.
As well, she’ll check weather, because as all know,
There’s nothing on earth she detests more than snow
Or cold or wind on a sunnier day.
“I’d vote for no winter, if I had my way!”
This Swiper has watched us and helped us to food
Since the first days we got here, so painfully new.
Although we just see her but seconds a day,
Her view is of us for each minute she stays
At her post, on her perch, her hand in one motion
While she dreams and talks of naught but the ocean.
Though not much thanks she gets in this job,
Hers is an importance unmatched by a mob.


The Pre-Med Student

By Hanna Kopits, Haverford ‘21

See here the pre-med student, disheveled and unclean, 
Two hours or sleep, coffee, and forgetting to eat keeping her lean. 
The bags under her eyes larger than the one on her back, 
Internships apps, three labs a week, and professors cutting her no slack. 
Eight MCAT books piled high on her desk all preparing for one test
As she works day and night and the stress allows her no rest.  
Her parents hope that one day she’ll be a surgeon, 
All she wants to do is go through college and have friends like a real person. 
See her in the Sci-li doing problem sets until she cries, 
But she pretends to do it with ease, no one sees through her lies
With her large coffee and iPad, she nods off in Orgo, 
Then realizes she has a lab quiz due during lunch and screams “OH NO,”
She runs off in a panic, sprinting across Founder’s Green
To beg for an extension from her professor without causing a scene.
  Without close friends, she never goes out
Friday or Saturday, she’s staying in without a doubt.
Her backpack is stuffed to the bursting
Of notebooks, textbooks, and a poster; she’s cursing
Her choice of career at every chance,
But puffs up with pride every time she’s asked
“What’s your major?” from each new person she meets
“I’m a Chem, Psych double major with a Biochem minor” and misses no beats.
  The only thing she wishes for is twelve hours more in a day
So that she can do independent research, in which she has a say.
  Running reactions for seniors and pouring colorless liquids, 
Into test tubes and dishes. Her research is on lipids, 
And how a bilayer can be broken down using proteins that cleave. 
She spends her nights dreaming of everything she could achieve, 
At Harvard, or Hopkins, or NYU. 
But then she realizes that she still has to get through the next week or two.


The Blue Bus Tales

by Caroline Ford, Haverford ‘21

When October came, a cascade of hues
Of beautiful leaves which the trees did lose
Carried and swirled by the blustery wind,
The foliage on campus greatly thinned.
In autumn’s crisp air, well set in their pace
The students rushed ‘round as if in a race.
While striding with brisk purpose and hustle,
A modest bus stop amidst the bustle
Awaited the monstrous, azure-tinged cube
That those in the Bi-Co know as the ‘Bloob.’
This majestic Blue Bus, honored and true,
Was loyal to its schedule through and through.
From Bryn Mawr to Haverford it would trek,
Whipping around turns; some feared it might wreck.
With its rumbling engine and hissing brakes
It cruised over potholes with mighty shakes
Like the Knight Bus, weaving its way through cars,
Speeding haphazardly across the tar.
When at four o’clock sharp this beast arrived,
The overflowing crowd clambered inside.
Students packed together, cramming the bus
And tried to find a seat without much fuss.
Once all were seated or standing in place
Positioned together with little space,
They held on tight as the bus surged forward
Into battle, prepared and well-armored.
But alas, as this machine proceeded,
Traffic ahead could not go unheeded.
Not one minute after reaching the road
Of Montgomery Ave, the Blue Bus slowed
Until its mighty wheels rolled to a stop.
Now stuck in a standstill on the blacktop,
Stranded, no WiFi or working AC,
The occupants all groaned in agony.
With the bus filled to max, no room to stand,
Five ‘Ford students formed an unlikely band
Of strangers, left to their own devices
In the midst of this congested crisis.
Stagnant, bored, with nothing better to do,
An idea formed from this motley crew
To share with each other several tales
(To pass time more quickly, if all else fails)
Originating from past reference,
Imagination, or experience.
An odd collection is our company:
Here I’ll begin to describe them to thee.

A HAVERBRO first, a lax bro, at that:
An esteemed social caste much like a frat.
He took up the entire Blue Bus seat
Focused on finding something sage to Tweet.
One who reveres social status and skill,
This athlete cares most for FIFA and chill.
A white boy, ™, with dirty blond hair,
Tall in his stature, and pale face shaved bare.
A GIAC regular to lift and run
When outside of practice to condition,
Always trying to remain hydrated
With a gallon water jug, quite weighted.
On the DC’s right, with his Gatorade,
He’d sit and embody the Nike trade
Surrounded by his many fellow bros
Discussing economics, I suppose.
Here, his Lacrosse stick looped through his backpack,
A ‘Ford sweatshirt he sports, bright red and black,
Preppy Lacoste shorts, Adidas to match-
So that any girl would think him a catch.
A white snapback worn low atop his head
While he sits, his legs generously spread;
His position conveying confidence
In both frank manner and ego immense.
And alas, when the weekend comes again,
As parties arrive, ev’ry now and then;
A pong champion, he’d play through the night,
And well can he consume much Natty Lite.
Always full ready to drink, juul, and dance,
And perhaps give his homework just one glance.

Next was a SINGER of A CAPPELLA
Sat by the window, an uptight fella
Whose judgmental eyes were sharp as a blade.
His posture was firm and always conveyed
Command of his peers, with a pointedly
Smug smile that purred, “everybody loves me.”
Brown hair slicked back smoothly by a thick gel,
Loud shirt screaming at a high decibel,
And moody blue jeans, purposefully ripped.
He crossed his legs while he tastefully sipped
From his pristine tumbler, of Starbucks brand:
A rare sight without his pitch pipe in hand.
This skilled performer, sure of his talent,
Whose musical passion was so ardent
Found singing of the utmost importance,
Accepting nothing short of excellence.
Quick to interject with notes about keys,
Comments on acoustics and harmonies.
An effortless tenor with heart and soul,
“So melodic and rich!” his fans extolled.
Of his musical gift, all were aware,
And if they weren’t, he was happy to share
The scope of his musical expertise,
And discussions of himself rarely ceased.
To remain the center of attention,
He’d break into song at any mention,
Of some musicals, soundtracks, and chorus.
Few could deny: his voice was sonorous.

On his left was a PROCRASTINATOR,
A real responsibility skater.
Out of breath from sprinting to make the bus,
For an on-time arrival was hopeless.
She, overwhelmed and overcommitted,
Was late to class, even later to bed.
Although already weeks behind on work,
This stressed-out sophomore tried not to shirk
Her projects and tests, but she fell behind
For she’s rarely able to plan her time.
Frequently asking profs for extensions
To quickly finish problem set questions.
Determined to live out the college life,
She neglects her studies to avoid strife;
Juggling a job, five credits, and hobbies,
She functions just on Monster and coffees.
She always runs on three hours of sleep
With permanent eye bags that run skin-deep,
Disheveled, tired; you’d not hear the end
Of how much time on assignments she’d spend
Putting them off, for as long as she could,
But unsure if she’d finish them for good.
She’s worn the same shirt from Sunday onwards
And all the while it has been on backwards;
Her nails are bitten right down to the quick
(An anxious habit she has yet to kick);
Her jet-black hair is in a makeshift bun:
Trying to look composed when still undone.

To the side stood the irksome FREETHINKER,
The most adversarial in nature.
A “nice guy,” angered that girls choose to date
Jerks over himself, the optimal mate.
A true patron of free speech and debate:
He favors playing devil’s advocate.
This worthy man’s an avid news reader
And the Haverford Freethinkers’ leader.
Who would scorn his display of bravery
As a conservative at Plenary?
When he took to the mic to speak his mind
And came out to his classmates all combined,
As a Republican, the most oppressed
In the whole college, unless unconfessed.
Dressed in a blue polo and pressed khakis,
Look complete with loafers; like his lackeys,
Occupied with discourse and politics,
He was adept at disputing nitpicks.
In class, he takes up a great deal of space
Stifling others’ voices with his deep bass
And monopolizing each discussion.
With his ethical views, quite outspoken
He’d serve as a major disruptive force;
Of arguments, he was a constant source.
Most deemed his opinions problematic
And found him far less than charismatic
Because of his sexist, racist beliefs,
And his controversial Facebook debriefs.

Last was a GEEK, a quirky introvert,
Vastly clever, and prepared to subvert
Any stereotypes that came to pass:
The only woman in her comp sci class.
Her backpack was covered in flashy pins
Of varied fandoms she was involved in
Like Harry Potter and SuperWhoLock;
Fan merch from head to toe, down to each sock.
Her graphic tee featured a bright design
Of an anime character’s outline
Which was her favorite to marathon
Between classes and the days’ goings-on.
She’d speak in movie quotes and allusions
From her treasured books, shows, and fanfictions:
Her knowledge of ev’ry adaptation
Knows no bounds, and could never be dampened.
A true Marvel comic book connoisseur
And certainly, no gaming amateur
With a PlayStation, Switch, and Xbox One:
Up to date with the latest edition.
An aficionado in board games
Like Catan and other tabletop names.
At Nerd House she prefers to spend her time,
A quiet space she considers sublime;
Compared to parties in 19 basement,
Curling up with a book is more prudent.


The Tritton Tales

by Becca Garfinkle, Bryn Mawr ‘20

In the middle of March just before the start of spring, the cold winter winds still blow. Warm southern states beckon, promising warm weather, sun, and white sand beaches. A break from the white winter days. Spring break a promise of a breath of fresh air, homework seems like a distant memory. The future is littered with the promise of alarmless sleep and carefree procrastination. Some return home, others flee south like a flock of geese. To the airport they all must go. For the freshman of Tritton there was still a question, how to get there. The college has a van, one time only on the wrong day. SEPTA’s an option. Always unreliable, the opposite of timely. Luckily a sophomore with a van offered to drive them all.

The night before break begins all the midterms turned in. A party was thrown, to celebrate the end. The freshman have worked hard they deserve a break. Gathered in their common room together, drink and bottles around, chips and guac, no party is complete without Hot Cheetos. The music is popping, conversation is hopping, drinks are flowing. Everyone talking together, chatting haltingly. Tomorrow they rise early to voyage across the main line down I-95N towards Philadelphia. Enough of the journey for now we discuss the friends they would make along the way. Each one unique with their favorite drink and their final degrees. With the host I will begin.

THE HOST of the party was Harold Bail. A sophomore took all the freshies under his wing, showing them the best of campus from the tendies of the DC to the hidden study spots. He loved to think of himself as their father figure. His friends call him Harry but the freshman must call him Harold. In honor of the old man he is inside, he is shown only in the slump of his shoulders, stubble on his face, and pain in his back. He stumbles towards an anthropology degree, specifically linguistic anthropology. His main focus is on how the language of social media influences the behavior of social life. His van is his prized possession, a fun brown color. Some might call it creepy but he doesn’t think so. He drives his friends everywhere and rarely asks for gas money. The frosh love him as he buys their drinks for them. Tomorrow morning, he will drive them all to the airport. Tonight no alcohol in his cup, only water. Fresh from the Brita that he keeps cold in his mini fridge. Throughout the night he reminds the freshman to take cold water shots to remain hydrated.

Harold works closely with the bartender of the party, A BIOLOGY MAJOR. Roger Carson, Reggy to his friends. He trolls the internet searching for different drink recipes to try from a classic gin and tonic, Jello shots, or a frozen margarita. His true passion involves ice and mixer that he uses to blow off steam from the mountain of textbooks that take up his time, Chemistry, Anatomy, Physics, Microbiology. You name it, he’s got it. They pile next to his bed, if only knowledge could flow like water in osmosis. The MCATs are too soon despite him being only a freshman. On eye ahead towards the future, and one in the present. Spring break will release the tension for a few days until he relaxes. To Mexico to drink and relax with his friends from home. Only a quick trip across the border for them. A boys trip to pick up some new supplies. Tonight he finishes off the last of his previous supply. He’s got a red face from drinking already, only shots of chilled Mexican tequila. No chaser- It ruins the experience. The only addition is salt stolen from the DC. With closely cropped hair and a liberal coating of pimples he’s not a pretty picture. But always invited to every party as he makes the best drinks.

A CLASSICS MAJOR always knows how to party. They embody the bacchanal spirit, and Kate Downey is just the same. She honors Dionysus with a classic red wine, fresh from a box. Springing for the more expensive option to treat herself after a long winter of reading Livvy. Dropping twenty dollars to embrace her true maenad. She models herself after her childhood icons: Venus, Athena, Hippolyta, Proserpina. Strong women. Her father always told her their stories growing up. They inspire her on the daily. A trip home is just what she needs to reconnect with her roots. College is tiring, every man on campus thinks himself an Apollo. If they sing you a song and shine down upon you then you will melt away. The truth is they are all Zeus. All the problems of the world caused by their impulses, just like satyrs chasing nymphs. Oh to have a love as sweet as Hades and Persephone. Maddening. Almost makes her want to follow Diana instead. It would allow for less distractions to be sure. More time spent holed away with the ancients, Homer, Herodotus, Euripides, Appian, the only men she could trust these days.

A HISTORY MAJOR, James “Jamie” King loves the medieval period, since the time he was born, in honor of his name. He is gentle and fair of hair, golden from hours in the field. Honorable in the game, he has never been carded. Soccer is his life, so says the sticker on his water bottle “Ball is Life”. No one else has traveled as far as he has. He can count how many weekends were spent on the road, packed in a van with the rest of the team. From their first match at Swarthmore he distinguished himself, two goals. A real MVP. The Fords visit many a school, from Ursinus to Johns Hopkins. The team has a long history to live up to. They follow the brave leadership of their captains. Now it’s the off season, he’s got more time to spend at home with Anjou. Still spending time at the field, he was just there earlier tonight. Grass stains cover his high white socks poking out from Nike Air Zoom. The rest of his outfit is Haverford red and black, rumpled and wrinkled, straight from the GIAC.

With him was his WOMEN’S STUDIES and RELIGION DOUBLE MAJOR. His girlfriend Aly Cooper. As a student of Bryn Mawr, she is a stranger at Haverford. Despite one of her majors being there. She dreams of home, a relaxing bath, seeing her cat, and tea with her grandmother. Kept busy from two majors, what little free time she has is spent with Jamie and a ball of yarn, she is slowly teaching him how to knit. Many a blanket, hat, and scarf she has made for friends and family, always highly praised for the double pearl. Tackling a sweater pattern is next. Her grandmother inspired her degree choice from trips across Europe. Stopping at every church or cathedral. From Rome to Boulogne, Cologne, and St. James of Compostella. For her high school graduation a trip to Jerusalem. Her heart broke when Notre Dame’s spire fell. Luckily, she had seen it a year earlier. An expert in plane travel, she refrains from drinking tonight to ensure everyone makes it to the airport tomorrow. Black hat in hand to cover greasy roots, long auburn hair pulled back into a pony tail, red sweater and blue jeans. A slight gap between her teeth gives her a friendly look. Hiding the steel underneath, she is a radical feminist who won’t take any snide comments or jokes. She could talk for a whole night long about her opinions on politics. Simply read her laptop stickers to understand her views.

An ECON MAJOR, Nick Grant dreams of the day he can sell for a living. The future Goldman employee hopes to work in foreign exchange. He plans on a study abroad experience in the Netherlands. Living large like he already has the job and the salary that comes with it. Hiding under his bed is a mountain of debt from student loans. No one will know once he gets the job of his dreams. Summers spent as a traveling knife salesman, with a golden tongue he sold out of cleavers. The same tongue can share his opinions elegantly at every debate event. Playing the devil’s advocate is his favorite activity, and he always speaks tastefully no matter what opinion he preaches. A fur hat perched on his head in preparation of the cold weather, skiing in Colorado. Ski boots tightly clasped is his future. In the present a tightly grasped 4-Loko next to a scraggly patchy beard. A brightly colored graphic tee stands out against the grey of the winter sky. 

In class with him is A POLITICAL SCIENCE and ECON DOUBLE MAJOR, Elias Rosenthal. His life is all planned out, undergrad here then law school in NYC to join his father’s practice. Already working towards the goal he interned at a law firm in high school. Knowledge of legislation already begun from his work there. The next step in the plan is study abroad in London, near St. Paul’s cathedral. For now, however, debate practice twice a week. He is on the team with Nick. He debates with ease, well-spoken and alert. He cross examines with ease and poise, with the factual sources to tear apart the opposition. In class he always participates, no professors can find fault with his writings. 4.0 they all say. He is always busy working on the next paper. No friend can understand how he is never done. On the weekends, he never has more than one drink, whiskey, neat. 

Opposed to the GEOLOGY MAJOR, Oliver “Ollie” Gornick. Always in sweatshirts, straight from a Billabong ad. Headed straight for the West. To Cali from cold Pennsylvania. “West coast, best coast” as he always says.  Half the time spent with his dad, and the other half with his mother and her new boyfriend. Likely to return with a fresh tan from the sun. Hair freshly lightened in long beachy waves like any proper surfers should. A fun guy. The life of the party. At home in California, he is always at the beach surfboard in hand. She is lovingly named “Maggie D”. The currents can be dangerous, but he knows how to navigate them. He’s been surfing since he was a small child. The ocean is his one and only love. Oceanography is his future, to know every current, every tide. All the seas of the planet. After graduation, degree in hand he returns to California as quick as he can. Tonight with a microbrew in hand, stole swiftly from a superior at his internship. Didn’t bother him much. Everyone should share. Free love for all. 

A GERMAN MAJOR, Hallie Rosenzweig. Like any proper German, a beer in hand. Her German ancestry influences not only her drink but her degree choice. Her favorite book growing up was Grimm’s fairy tales. Every forest is the Black Forest, even the Haverford arboretum. With her mind full of stories of Aschenputtel, Rapunzel, and Rotkäppchen growing up was a fanciful time. Preferring the original versions to their animated counterparts. She knew all the tales, all zweihundert. Das Gute, und das Böse. Hallie loved them all, cautionary tales from another time. Her favorite story is die Rübe, the Turnip. A lyrical story of the pursuit of knowledge with a turnip sack, it also inspired her favorite vegetable. A trip to Germany waits her this summer but for now a simple return home to the Schwarzer Wald of Maine and to dine on Kartoffel and Rübe for a whole week. 

Across the room a loud laugh is heard, from the PSYCHOLOGY MAJOR. Robin “Rob” Miller, as loud as he is tall. Stands out on the track team for the breadth of his shoulders. Weightlifting in the GIAC is a daily activity after morning practice. Shot put is his event, but at every party he wins at arm wrestling, his true passion. You can hear him coming from the slam of doors he closes too hard and the depth of his laugh. Thick skulled, school is not his focus, instead many a weight lifted and vodka Gatorade drunk. Red headed and just as wild, a known chatter box. His mouth always open wide to tell fanciful stories of what his high school buddies got up to after their football games. Many a dirty joke or bad story was told, all while heavily intoxicated. Without a liquid helper he was a pleasant enough guy, with one his voice could irritate like a bagpipe. Slightly too loud and shrill. Rain or shine he was never without his trusty blue and white raincoat. 

Last in our party is an ENGLISH MAJOR, Rowena Sunshine. From the wild mountains of the Pacific Northwest. Closet full of flannels and braids past her shoulders she looks the part. No drink for her, she went outside 40 feet from the dorm to light up. No need to be cross faded before her flight. Six hours non-stop till she’s back in the land of Bigfoot. Plans to go hiking with her Timberlands and Brontë to keep her company. After the hike when the rain starts to pour, it’s Shakespeare and a coffee, fresh from Starbucks. They are a Seattle born company after all. Her parents embraced the PNW aesthetic and changed their last name to Sunshine. An ironic twist given the weather patterns. They raised her to be a free spirit, a go-with-the-flow relaxer. The hustle and bustle of the East coast is quite a change. She’ll make it work. After all she can’t end up like half her high school class and transfer back to their hometown. She can prove herself different and spend four years with the Monogy before returning to her first love, Sasquatch. 

The members of our fateful party have been detailed all of their future degrees and current drinks written down. Grand old Harold welcomed each one as they came from their rooms. Reggy fixed their drink that flowed all night. Stilted conversation grew around the room. Many were not friends; they hadn’t talked much since Customs Week. Harold sought to change this, to get the conversation flowing. 

“We should play a drinking game!”

The boys all seemed enthused, save Elias. The girls rolled their eyes. 

Kate piped up, “Something that uses your brain, preferably.”

Harold snapped his fingers. He had thought of the perfect game, “We shall each tell a story. The winner shall be decided by me and will get the passenger seat in my van tomorrow.”

Rob crossed his arms, “I had shot gun already.”

“Tell a fine tale then my friend.”

“How is this a drinking game?” Reggy held his shot glass anxiously.

Harold produced a bowl from the cabinets, “Everyone pour part of your drink in here and whenever you say a certain word you must take a sip.”

Grumbled approval filled the room, drinks were poured. The bowl took on a lovely frothy brown color.

“We have to agree not to judge anyone for their story’s content. Everyone should be allowed to tell what they want,” Nick insisted.

“No that’s idiotic,” Aly snapped. “If it’s offensive, they should drink from the community bowl.”

Nick tried to protest but Harold cut him off insisting the rule was final. The winner of the night would receive the honor of shot gun to the airport, while the loser would finish the bowl of punch before the night was through. To tell their tale first they chose the time old tradition of nose goes. Kate was the slowest on the draw and the first to tell her tale.


Tales from the Women’s Ward

by Aurora Lewis, Haverford ‘19

Sunshine in the Group Room, winter’s joke—
we’re deep in leap year February, but
might as well be April, with sun that hot
and honey. Know what else is funny? Margie
mouth pressed open against the window glass
trying to devour light that tastes of
tulips and Easter egg innocence, her
open lips an echo of Munch’s Scream.
(And I know she screams in dreams sometimes, like
a child might.) Her tongue kisses leave behind
saliva stains on the panes.

Me? I am senseless, desensitized
by light on linoleum, and the fuck you of
a schizo in solitary (again)
whose screams duet with the percussion of
fists a room over, where Bertha’s anger
has gotten loose. I came last week,
the day they put the new toilet in. That
was about how my first day went, with the
plumber hauling in the urinal, mouth
moving round the stem of a Lucky Strike.
There was a boy in the waiting room too,
must have been nine, approaching double digits
on frozen time– here they take the clocks off
of walls, and jeans and sneakers off of you.
(Shoelaces are easy garrotes in the
violent wing, and lazy nooses for those
aping Monroe.)

But Group is about to begin. There are
thirty of us, all women, some full grown,
though Millie is only 16. Snow pale,
green veins running deep beneath translucent
skin. You’d call her beautiful
and the nurse who raped her would agree.
She’s open about it, though, not resigned
and weepy or wilting silently; her
favorite word is bastard, as in that ‘no
good dirty bastard thought that he could
own me. Fuck that.’ They say she’ll be out of
here soon, and one day maybe even free.
We sit in a circle of chairs, unless
you’re Em or Bertha. Then you’re slumping sloppy;
Em coasts by on a Methadone high, and
the Seroquel hits Bertha like a freight.
Doc must have set her straight; she’s fairly
docile and drooling on the floor. Upped her
meds—when she wakes she’ll call it mind-rape,
while Em will ask for more. Em got into
sex work and heroine, but ended up
homeless. She had to choose between a room
or her daily fix, and the drugs liked her best.
Bertha is schizophrenic, once jailed for
attacking a weed-dealing boyfriend
prone to violence. Claimed it was self-defense–
judge disagreed. When lucid, she inveighs
against the prison guards who “raped her up
the ass!” Edits are supplied by a nurse,
with the timid suggestion of:
‘cavity-searched.’

In Group we all go around and share,
pollute the air with our private aches and
hope someone somehow will understand.
Nikita will sit a few chairs from me—
she’s a student from Penn. They put her in
because she overdosed on cough syrup,
and before that was drowning in depression.
An obsession with books has kept her thin.
On my right, Angie will smirk the smirk of
a Cynic in private pain, will refrain
from speech although after she will seek to
give me a formal education in
the art of men. She is glamorous, her
teeth a white, gap-toothed flash between her
blood-red lips. When she walks she swings her hips
and tells me how to kiss with your tongue.
I think of Angie of the Rolling Stones:
There ain’t a woman that comes close to you
Come on Baby dry your eyes.

And Angie says, “here’s how to make a man jump
your bones: I’ve been married five times. I’ll
tell you the secret, the way to charm a man
into your hand. End the conversation
first, and always walk away. Act bored. Men
only really want the things they can’t have.”

Me? You probably wondered how I got
in here, and how a crackpot speaks so clear,
instead of dribbling out nonsense rhymes.
And I could tell you stories about me,
palms full of pills, dreams full of window sills,
whittling down this body to reach ribs,
the sternum’s piano keys. That might even
please you, a confirmation my screws are
too loose to feel, that none of this is real.
(I was told this wasn’t the way to go
about it, that you’d have to make them laugh,
that no one wants a story to tear down
the walls of common sense.) So to protect
your conscience, let’s chalk it up to this:
Haldol-Seroquel-Thorazine daydreams
Zyprexa-Celexa-Trazadone lies.
Search my genome, say your ACG’s, wrench
loose some base pairs, uncross your T’s: behold
the mutations, gene abominations
that make this loony sing out hateful tunes—
“she’s only talkin’ crazy, her brain’s
bipolar-hazy.”

And if, by chance, you still worry my rhymes
talk sense… “Well, Doc caught her before she
went off the deep end, and that made all the
difference.”