Poetry Practise



This article contains amateur poetry written in verse (barring the two short ones at the end). I’ve wished to write poetry for quite a long while now, and being part of the BTSB crew gives me the opportunity to actually publish it, as well as the chance to review it at a later date.

Of writing poetry, I have the following to say. Firstly, it is surprisingly difficult. I had four major points to consider; rhythm, metre, rhymes, and general expression of what I wanted to say. For me, I feel as the rhythm was the most difficult aspect (it remains far from natural in what I present in this article) – perhaps this is felt by other ESL speakers and writers as well. Secondly, writing poetry feels weird. I constantly felt like I was, in an indescribable way, pitting myself against someone or something. Lastly, whilst I thought trying my hand at poetry was extremely enjoyable, sometimes I felt like abandoning it all and writing an article about something easier and, more importantly, less personal.

The short verse-snippets in this article tell of the lives (usually in a mocking tone) of the Nine Worthies, a set of heroes named by 14th century French author Jacques de Longuyon. The Nine Worthies include the following characters, listed in order of appearance in this article; Hector of Troy, Julius Caesar, Joshua, King David, Judas Maccabeus, King Arthur, Charlemagne, and Godfrey of Bouillon. Alexander the Great is, of course, the 9th Worthy, but I opted not to write about him at this time.

In my poetry, I thought it wise to allude to the KJB and Shakespeare’s works to show off what I had read before. Likewise I found it difficult to resist the opportunity to include puns and wordplay. Unfortunately, these factors might make understanding what I aimed to say difficult – and therefore ruin the poetry. This is somewhat ironic, as I have always thought that reading amateur poetry was annoying specifically for this reason. With that being said, I had fun in trying out poetry, and hopefully you, the reader, might be inspired to give it a go one day.


Here we lay our scene, played by writer lone,

accompan’d by nine Princes of ages lost.

Set betwixt mind and map, in realms unknown;

wherein man meets Human, at an untold cost.

Should thou seeketh sorry savoury purpose

for wit-working writ in this-like domain,

know thus: it is jealousy of sweet corpus

given life by Poets born nevermore again.

Righteous removal of hatred and hope

mine noble effort doth aim to achieve,

purposing to will a will: graciously cope

with thine deficits, and thyself not deceive.

An unjoyous task be an unsightly view,

howbeit combined, us ten may our sins subdue.



Down in the deep darks of Underworld dwelleth thou now, paragon.

Once-worsted warrior, won by Worthy wrath, answer I: wert thou war’s pawn?

Virtue or Vice, venture we to weigh, be Man’s grim glory-greed by nature:

opinions oppos’d ought to cull, ere culling come their feature?

Heracles-hatched held thou not, as title; heroic deeds were-

thy toil to Troy’s tale. Thus, live in legend, lacking mine rage to incur.



Follow we hence an Ancient with another,

driven to decimate this well-Worthy rank

with cruelty akin to that conferr’d by brother

and heavy heir, whose heart in happy jealousy sank.

Then fall, res publica! no father, mother,

no dictator can truly-taught treachery thank;

bloody betrayal will any bond-breath smother,

right-rooted trust from former-friends’ souls yank.


Thy death promis’d propagators prosperity,

power war-won, and Divinity dismal:

most bounteous boons by bandit-business.

Follow’d annihilation of austerity;

th’estate of august Athens’ heirs, turned abysmal-

thy life and reign tainted, by want of wiseness.



Now after the death of Kaiser, our words spin

backwards in time, speaking of asp y Nun-son,

whose deceitful deeds Worthy-worth, held by his kin-

worth the while, deems only I, of being justly undone:

the tribes of th’Twelve would without thou have won.

O Clandestine conqueror; ill cit-servant;

thy victories aptly amount to Cain and one.

In viperous Vices wert thou fervent,

epithets of these Worthy, bestowed by the observant.



Comes next not Nero, but an other

of his kind; a sonorous song-writing King,

whose fiery feud with fiendish Foe slayed tother.

A Man hosting Heavenly heart, with offspring

of Greatness well-deserving; to this cling,

since thy sovereign sling better never brought.

Saviour-spawning for, honour thy memory we ought.



Writ or sang, may be songs of gallant heroes

which here world hath witnessed manifold-

many ascrib’d fame, some reduced to zeroes;

thy name thine ruin foretold, fair friar of old.

Holofernes himself hesitated,

in revealing thy nature and natural-name.

Designated traitor, art thou ill-fated

to suffer the slings and arrows of defame?

Revolting as thine atrocious acts are,

take in this: from Iscariot’s vile will art thou far.



Dragon-descendant boast thee thy title, bear king;

Lord of the castle, Protector of a table-

grandeur and chagrin both did thy knights thou bring.

Lo! of their fearsome feats tell many a fable.

In stories, yea, unmatched remains thy glory,

as testament to power of the auditory.

Without contest, likewise was fair thy Queen,

whose affairs arduous were deemed obscene.

Fine a match in matrimony; thou and her!

save there a sea of spears had between thee been.

Myth equal the merits of eager exertion, Sir.


Tedious tales of warlocks, and Knights Green

may – perchance – fail to entertain those keen.

What is fiction? but display of smoke and air;

as Revels are ended, what remains on Scene?

Myth equal the merits of eager exertion, Sir.




mannered King

conquering, uniting, governing.

Inviolable, untouchable a ruler.




Of Bouillon hail thou, good God-Fear,

King of Jerusalem! oh dear!

Renouncing the title,

thought our man vital;

but he died after a single year.


The Little Choices and Big Choices in Campus Life

coffee feature

coffee featureNot everything that the university has to offer is overtly advertised: sometimes you have to do some digging to find the most fascinating courses, teachers, and clubs that your school has to offer. Not all courses that are interesting are promoted by tutors or teachers, and they certainly won’t appear on your syllabus if they’re not directly within your chosen major. There’s so much more that the university has to offer in addition to the courses required to earn your degree – and now is the time to take full advantage of your right to study! Some of my personal favorites are courses from the Faculty of Theology, like “Folk Religion” and “Women in Buddhism”. A range of fascinating topics are also covered by Dario Martinelli, an Italian gentleman who visits from Lithuania at least once a year to teach intensive courses about animals in cinema, the Beatles, and Hitchcock. I can also wholeheartedly recommend television studies, which provide a lot of interesting topics if you get past the basic theory (which can sometimes err on the side of a snooze fest). The course selection naturally varies year to year, but you can easily search for courses based on the faculty through WebOodi.

Most of the professors at University of Helsinki are good teachers, but there are of course some who are simply more captivating or engaging than others. There are some great professors within the English department: Elizabeth Peterson, who has even won the Teacher of the Year award, is a knowledgeable and engaging teacher who manages to hold students’ attention for the whole lecture without fail. Mark Shackleton’s sense of humor and easygoingness are guaranteed to keep you coming back to his lectures. Nely Keinänen, Bo Petterson, and Howard Sklar are also all great literature experts. Outside of our department, for example, the folk religion enthusiast Terhi Utriainen is a lovely character who is truly passionate about her subject.

staircaseThere are also all sorts of things worth trying outside of classes: in case the department of English still organizes trips to Stratford, I warmly recommend attending. The 10-day study trip to London and Stratford-upon-Avon will open up your cultural horizons: you’ll see some of the most amazing theater and learn about the behind-the-scenes work that goes into it. Similarly, cruises to Tallinn, excursions to Nuuksio, and whatever trips that SUB ry (or any other organization) might be organizing are always a wonderful opportunity to do something new and fun with your classmates outside of school.

All the potential extracurricular activities that you were bombarded with during the opening carnival are there to help you balance out the studying that you’ll be doing during your first year. By no means should you try to attend everything – you’ll end up getting a burnout in a month. But rather, try a few things that sound the most interesting and you might just find yourself a new hobby. And luckily there’s no obligation to attend more than once – if you find that anime isn’t your thing after all, don’t worry about it. You can visit most clubs and organizations just to see what they’re all about and if it’s not your cup of tea, you can try another activity. That’s the fun of university: this is truly the time to experiment and enjoy new things! And whatever you do, don’t let your syllabus or your major limit you, because no one is actually expecting you to just sit down in front of your books 24/7.

Study spaces are sometimes hard to find if you’re not willing to branch outside the main library Kaisa. However, there are tons of little nooks and crannies all over campus that you can take advantage of! Obviously there are cafés like Gaudeamus Kirja ja Kahvi downstairs from Kaisa, which means that you can quickly pop upstairs to grab books if you need them. Also, next to the library there is Steam Coffee, which gives students 10 per cent discount. If you don’t wish to spend money on a cup of coffee, there are lounge areas in almost every floor in Metsätalo – there’s no need to stick to the armchairs in the 3rd floor hallway. Other libraries are available too – both public and campus ones. The Nordic Culture Point in Kaisaniemenkatu is a charming combination of a library and a living room, and it even offers free Wi-Fi. It tends to go unnoticed by many, despite its central location on the campus. If you wish to stay in Kaisa, however, go downstairs instead of heading up: the lower you go, the less people there are. In the cellar floors there are very quiet areas to work on your essays and projects.

coffee om nomNaturally, between classes you will need nourishment, which tends to mean a visit to one of UniCafes on campus. You should be aware that the menu differs in all of them, so even if the food is not to your liking at Metsätalo, Porthania might still be serving your favorite food. It’s easiest to check online the menus for the different UniCafes so that you don’t waste a trip. A favorite of mine is the one in Ylioppilasaukio, which has even had chicken in red wine sauce for 2.50 euros. It doesn’t get better than that! The best times to go eat are during the early day or later in the evening, because obviously everyone is hitting the food queues around noon. If you pack a cheap snack like an energy bar or fruit with you and get through the lunch time with that, you’re more likely to find a seat when you go eat a proper meal.

There are so many things that affect your time at the university, from the food at Unicafe to the courses you take. All these little parts make up the whole of your university experience, which hopefully will be amazing and exciting. There is an immense amount of freedom when it comes to studying at our university and everyone should take full advantage of it, from the smallest choices to the big ones. Don’t let anything stop you if you feel like doing something crazy like pairing a television studies minor with a philosophy one, while majoring in English (it’s a working combo – trust me). Do what interests you, because this is your chance to learn anything and try new things. Make choices that improve aspects of your everyday life as a student and you’ll end up loving the whole experience.