“Opportunity” Eli’s Poem!

Last week, Eli started the Classics-Based Writing course through SchoolhouseTeachers.com, our “go-to” for ALL our homeschool curriculum. He studied the poem, “Opportunity,” by Edward R. Sill (!841-1887). Today, I used one of the suggestions in the lesson and asked him to rewrite the poem as a short story. It could be set in any time or place. He chose to rewrite the poem. I’ll post Sill’s poem below Eli’s.

I was captivated. I almost felt bad at how surprised I was with what he came up with. He said coming from a farming family, playing Farming Simulator, and inherited writing skills helped. I hope you enjoy this as much as I did.


By Eli D. Harlow – 1/27,2020

In the style of Edward R. Sill – 1841-1887

This I dreamed, or saw on TV

There spread a cloud of dust along a field

And underneath the cloud, or in it raged

A motor, and wheat clanging to metal, and

Big semis roaring. The spout of a Claas

Rose up, then slowly went back down

A fretting farmer got out of the Claas and said

Had I a combine of keener power – that Fendt my neighbor has, but

This blunt thing-! He left the field and walked away

Then came the neighbor wanting to help someone

He saw the Claas just sitting in a half-finished field

He climbed in and completed the farmer’s task

And doing a neighborly thing, he saved the crop

Here’s the original poem.


EDWARD R. SILL (1841-1887)

This I behold, or dreamed it in a dream:-

There spread a cloud of dust along a plain;

And underneath the cloud, or in it, raged 

A furious battle, and men yelled, and swords

Socked upon swords and Shields. A princes banner 

Wavered, then staggered backward, hemmed by foes.

A craven hung along the battles edge, 

And thought, Had I a sword of keener steel-

That blue blade that the king’s son bears,-but this

Blunt thing-!” He snapped an flung it from his hand,

And lowering crept away and left the field.

Then came the king’s son, wounded, sore bestead,

And weaponless, and saw the broken sword, 

Hilt-buried in the dry and the trodden sand,

And ran and snatched it, and with a battle shout 

Lifted afresh he hewed his enemy down,

And saved a great cause that heroic day.

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