The Cantankerous Campanile

A poem

Andrew Kuo/File

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I am the phallic tower reigning o’er the land

I am the focal point of the campus tour you’ve planned

I’m the symbol up which you’ve all ascended

All look up to me, no pun intended

All here in Berkeley know well my name

But o, the pain that comes with such fame

To those who think you know me well

Your notions I must now dispel

For no one knows of the darkness I see:

This life’s not all that it’s cracked up to be

‘Tis not all glory, nor prowess, nor gain

If I’m being honest, it gets pretty lame

“Why the complaint?” I suppose you wonder

‘Cause like each one of you, I require slumber

I seldom have time to even relax

For I must survive on one-hour naps

Every time I hear the bells

My blood it boils, my anger it swells

The worst of all times are midnight and noon

At 11:59 I prepare for my doom

Twelve rings of the bell, right next to my ear

And what choice have I but to persevere?

For if I had legs, I would just walk away

But cemented I am, so rooted I stay

I know that to you, the chimes are quite nice

But 24 a day for the whole of my life

Is too much to bear; it’s far too obscene

Considering I was born in 1914

The worst is he who plays the carillon

Who always must be high on marijuan’

I wonder who it was that taught him to play it

It angers me so much I cannot convey it

It sounds like a toddler who bangs on pots and pans

Or a bunch of belligerent Limp Biskit fans

A chainsaw, a weedwacker, in thunderstorm weather

Two pieces of Styrofoam rubbing together

Construction men drilling ‘til it drives you mad

Or a baby hyena who was recently stabbed

If I had a mouth, I would say but one thing

And with it, all my emotions would ring

I beg you, good sir, from the depths of my gut

Leave me in peace and shut the fuck up.


Contact Tom Edmondson at [email protected]

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