English 10: Writing Portfolio


Catholic Memorial High School



Creative Writing  

Dear Mr. Ted Hughes,

Hello, my name is Tom Murphy. I am fifteen years old and I attend Catholic Memorial High School in West Roxbury, Massachusetts. I take a British Literature class and during this class we are learning about contemporary British authors. I saw your work on the internet, and it interests me very much. I would love for you to make a visit to my school for a reading of your work.

While reading some of your poems on the internet, one of them especially intrigued me because I could relate it to an experience from my own life. “The Horses” is my favorite poem of yours. When I was a kid my uncle owned a ranch and ended up giving me a horse for my birthday, but soon after I got it though it ended up dying. While reading this poem, it reminded me of all the good times I had and what a great horse it really was. I also liked how you showed the setting in this poem. “…in the hour-before-dawn dark.” Was a great line because I can see what that darkness looks like from being up at the time of the morning.

I noticed that most of your poems are either about nature or animals of some sort. I want to have a career that involves animals when I become older, so it interests me a lot that many of your poems involve animals as well. I have also always wanted to have the talent of writing. I want to be able to write poems, short stories, and such. But I would always give up after making one or two mistakes and never work on that piece again. It would mean a lot to me and many of my fellow classmates as well if you could make time in your schedule to come have a reading of your poems at my school, or even just writing back. Thank you for taking the time to read this.

Please write back,

Tom Murphy































Written around the 1890’s, the song “Prince Elphin’s Song”, written by Felecia Hemans was based on a famous English myth. It states that Prince Elphin found a baby that had been discarded, and name him “Taliesin” meaning “fine value” or “shining brow”. Prince Elphin was later imprisoned by his uncle in Tregonwy Castle from which Taliesin rescued him later. The Lyrics to this song are supposedly addressed toward the bird that sang near his prison window. This is the song remembered and sometimes sung every time the myth of Prince Elphin and his step-song is brought up in today’s world. This song is a song, but also an age old story that goes back decades. It is one of the more popular folk tales shared in British Culture today. It would be the equivalent of a mother goose story in American culture today. This song teaches us of British Culture around the time it was written.

This song is telling of a man who has been sentenced to jail and is singing of his only friend during this experience, a bird who would sing near his window. It portrayed the fact that just hearing the bird singing would cheer him up. “My harrowed soul to cheer…” It would cheer him up to the point where he would sing also, and not care what people would think. “Like thee, I once regardless sung, Like Thee, ere while was free…” It also seems that he feels like he was sent to prison for something he didn’t do. “Unjustly doomed to linger here…” It also seems as though he is missing a lady friend from when he was free and the bird would help him get over his despair of missing her. “My Ellen, Beauteous fair. Sing on, sweet bird, and soothe my woe…” All he really wants to do at this point is to just linger away. This seems to be more of a song filled with sadness and grief, as can be recognized by the slow and solemn tune of the song.

This song is mainly showing the importance of friendship to British culture. Throughout this song there a many examples of how Prince Elphin longs for a friend. Even to the point where a bird who “sings to him” by the window has become his closest thing to a friend. This song is mainly showing the importance of friendship to British culture. Throughout this song there a many examples of how Prince Elphin longs for a friend. Even to the point where a bird who “sings to him” by the window has become his closest thing to a friend. He mentions his loneliness in the line “Save thine, no friendly voice is heard...” Prince Elphin has been wrongly accused of a crime and is now stuck in prison for life. He now has not one person to talk to. The only thing he can talk to is this singing bird that comforts him each day. “But now, alas! My wretched tongue is dumb to all but thee.” This song really shows how much a man’s friendship with another is essential to everyday life. Plainly portraying that no man can live his life alone.

This song has not been covered by another artist, but the storyline behind it has been told for generations. This song mainly teaches the culture of British life during the late 1800’s to early 1900’s. It shows that friendship was important to British culture back then. It also shows that the justice system during the time was not all too great. Shown by the fact that Prince Elphin had been imprisoned for a crime he did not commit.


































On January, 31 2006, Edward Wycoff allegedly smashed through the Rogers family window just before dawn. After entering the house, he entered the parents bedroom and stabbed them to death and front of there three teenage children and then fled. He later was arrested after checking into a near-by hospital with a leg injury. The police later found that the people he murdered were his sister and brother in law. I believe this crime is definitely motivated by power. He later announced that he planned the murder out in order to take custody of the children and that he had a major dispute with his sister over a relatives will.

Edward Wycoff had earlier planned the attack on the Rogers family, he sister and brother-in-law. He said to the media that “My sister and her husband deserved to die”. Apparently the Rogers were not a highly liked couple in the neighborhood where the family lived in. Also the alleged murderer Mr. Wycoff had stated that he and his sister had never had a very good relationship, that ever since there childhood she had always been one up on him. He also mentioned that there was an earlier conflict over who would get a deceased relatives estate. He said that he was doing everyone a favor by killing her, as well as a favor to himself. Edward had this whole murder planned out. He told reporters “I had the entire murder planned out, I didn’t expect to be arrested though, and I planned on raising my sisters children from then on at my deceased uncles ranch.

Im almost one-hundred percent sure that Mr. Wycoff was the only culprit in the deaths of Mr. and Mrs. Rogers. He admitted to planning the murder and explained it with great detail. Also according to the three witnesses at the crime scene (his three teen-age nieces) that he was the only person in the house at the time. Police at this time don’t have any comment on the matter besides the fact that they think that Mr. Wycoff acted on his own.

A piece of literature the mimics the acts of Mr. Wycoff in this crime would be, “The Tragedy Of Julius Caesar” By William Shakespear. The reason I believe that this is an appropriate piece of literature for this crime is because of the meaning behind the crime in real life, and the crime in this play. Edward killed his sister because he believed she was not liked in the neighborhood, and also so he could take her role as the parent in her children’s lives. In “Julius Caesar”, Brutus kills Julius Caesar because the people believe that he is becoming too powerful. Brutus also thought about the fact that he would then take Caesars spot as king. Both crimes were boosted by the strive for power and by the pressure of others.

I one-hundred percent believe that this crime was motivated by power. Weather it was to finally standup to his sister, be the person who gets the estate left to them by a deceased relative, or to take her role as a parental figure in her children’s lives. All three of those reason are related to becoming more powerful than his sister. He had even planned it out so that he would succeed. He just couldn’t stand not being better than his sister.



























Language today in my opinion, is probably the most important skill we use in the world today. Everything that we do depends on communicating with one another. Weather that be through spoken word, sign language, or body language, we as people need to interact with each other for each day to continue on as normal. The English language has taken over our world as it has four times as many words as french does, making it a dominant language. One word in particular that I would like to point out would be the word, “incubus”. Although not a commonly used word in the English language, I believe that it has helped our language become a more descriptive one instead of a dull straightforward one.

The word incubus has only a few meanings, and they have not changed as the word has aged. The most commonly known definition of this word came from Webster’s English Dictionary stated that incubus is “ A demon or evil spirit that comes to woman in their sleep and rapes them.”. Another, more simple, meaning of this word is “A nightmare”, coming from Dictionary.com. One definition of this word that is probably known by very few people is that it could also be “A spirit of some type, that appears to you in your dreams, triggering a premonition.”. These three definitions are just a few examples of how this word has made our language a more in depth one. Instead of always saying that you had a nightmare last night, you could replace it with this word and make you sentence sound more descriptive.

After researching “incubus” from three regular dictionaries, I then looked up this word in the Oxford English Dictionary, (OED), which gives much more in depth definitions of word and the year it was first used in literature. When I first looked up my word in the OED, the definition was “A Satan-like spirit that meets women in there sleep and sexually abuses them”. The next definition was “ A disturbance in the night”. Although this word only has a few definitions, it is actually a older word than it may seem. This word according to the Oxford English Dictionary, is dated back to the year 1205 A.D. This shows that this word has not been a frequently used word over the years, since it is about 800 years old and there are only two or three definitions to the word.

After the research in the books, I thought I would see what some of my fellow class mates thought the word “incubus” meant. The first person I went to was Matt Conley who said “I have no idea what that word is, why did you choose that word in the first place?”. The next person I had ask was John Clinton. His response was “It’s a really good rock band, but the only way I know it.” Finally I asked Scott White what he had thought about the word. He told me “It sounds like something that would come from the twilight zone or something.” The rest of the responses coming with any form of an “I don’t Know”.

There are only a few places in literature where this word has been present. One of which was the book named “Incubus Dreams” By Craig Arnold. This book is about just what the title expresses, bad dreams. Showing that this author’s only knowledge of the word is it’s meaning “A nightmare” The only other place I could find the word incubus is a rock band called “Incubus”. I went to their fan site and sent them an email asking them to explain why they chose to call themselves that. After a week or so, I received and email back explaining that, the lead singer of the band, Brandon Boyd, when they first started out, had a dream of their success. He claimed that it was a premonition of what was bound to happen, that they would hit it big. So it seems that Mr. Boyd, had the knowledge of the word as “A spirit that comes to you in your sleep and triggers a premonition”. This is just another example of how this word has helped our language become more varied in our descriptions.

The word “incubus, although rarely used today, has definitely had a positive effect on English. It has helped the language become less simple and boring. Instead of having one word for ever type of description we make, this is one of those words that adds more choices. From writing a book about bad dreams, to helping a band come up with an extremely creative name, this word has, and will make very positive contributions to this language.