Friday, March 21, 2008

Ballad of the Tenant (Chelsea Rosenberger and Ashley Clousher) (Group Project)

Tenant, tenant,
I know there is a leak
I called the roofing company
They'll be here next week.

Tenant, tenant,
You must give me time
I need money to fix these things
And you haven't given me a dime.

Ten bucks you owe me,
Ten bucks past due.
Do you think that's enough
to fix this house up brand new?

I don't want to evict you
I don't want you to be cold
I don't want you to come back
to see your furniture has been sold.

Blame me all you want
Keep cursing my name
Threaten to silence me
But my face you will not maim.

Police! Police!
Take this man away.
He's trying to force me out.
I have no place to stay!

This man is a liar
I wish not to kick him out
He threatened to hurt me
Don't listen to him shout.

Lock him up
Teach him something
He can't walk around owing money
And acting like it's nothing.


The tenant learned his lesson
To this he can attest.

(Note: In a 30-minute in-class group project, Jennifer Semple Siegel's Introduction to Literature students were asked to rewrite Langston Hughes' 1951 "Ballad of the Landlord" from the landlord's perspective, while attempting to retain the original structure and cadence of the original poem. After reading their poems to the class, the students discussed how the shift in point of view changes the poetic perspective. The class also discussed how attitudes toward African Americans have changed and not changed since 1951.)

LIT160 Introduction to Literature, Spring 2008

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