Et In Arcadia Ego

by Alexander Walls

Such a phrase, of course, we may not oft hear,
Yet what is Eden?  What is paradise?
We idolise an Arcadian past;
We long for a Utopian future.
How will any of these dreams come to pass?
We must refocus.  Clouds block out the light
Bringing gloom and dusk.  Clouding our vision
Of what the present, right here and right now,
Represents to us.  How do we now live?
What, to Utopia, can we now give?

What is this Arcadian past, which we
Seek to replicate – or then, failing that,
What is this Utopian future we
Must seek to create?  For how, exactly,
Do we define Utopia, Eden,
Arcadia?  But surely such things are
Personal, unique, experiences,
Which cannot be distilled to one vision.
We oft talk of an earthly paradise,
Yet alas we fail and succumb to vice.

Such a place, on earth, is but fantasy.
We cannot hope to create such a world.
For it is blighted, basking in bloodlust,
War and woe; a great malady plagues us.
Therefore, we must retreat, and consider
What it is that we find Utopian.
Time spent with friends, family, or the arts.
The time spent free from time’s constraints, free from
The bathetic banalities of life.
Only then can we be free from our strife.

The Poor Print

Established in 2013, The Poor Print is the student-run newspaper of Oriel College, Oxford. Written by members of the JCR, MCR, SCR and staff, new issues are published fortnightly during term. Our current Executive Editors are Siddiq Islam and Jerric Chong.

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