Poem written to Prof. Tennyson (1992)
Alexander "Sasha" Volokh

(on handing in my paper on Browning's "Caliban upon Setebos"
to my UCLA Victorian poetry professor, George Tennyson)

O great professor of my class
(Which, if you give me an A, I'll pass)
Of English 162,
I have typed out this paper great,
Containing pages five to eight,
Which I now give to you.
This paper, I have written it
On the fun filled world of Victorian lit
Of which you are a denizen.

The poet on whom I've done this job
Was known to his friends by the name of Bob
(And to his wife, named Liz);
His syntax often is erratic,
But these are monologues dramatic,
That poetry of his.
And if you think my paper's O.K.
And mark it with the letter "A,"
You will receive my benison.

My paper talks about a man
(Half monster) known as Caliban,
From the play by Bill Shakespéare,
Subtitled "Theology in the Island,"
Which talks about his life so violent,
And how he lives in fear.
This poem, it is very meaty.
Browning wrote it in that Casa Guidi,
A-Florencin' and Venicin'.

This paper has me caused much pain.
Ah, let my work not be in vain,
This Browning thing of mine.
Instead of "A," if you give me
A letter grade approaching "B,"
Then will I surely pine.
I hope that you will not be frowning
At this, my paper on Robert Browning,
Or wearin' expressions menacin'.

But if these musings strike your heart,
These thoughts on nature, thoughts on art,
And thoughts about religion,
If one suggests you mark me down,
Then, you will answer with a frown,
And say, "No, not a smidgen."
Then, "good King George" will be your name,
And all around will spread your fame,
And I will eat some venison.
Or else, my woe will be so deep,
I'll be as one who cannot sleep,
Forever asking, "When is sun?"

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