Post Series: The Poems with Explanations Series: Step, step, step

Step, step, step

Step, step, step, held up
one, two, three, four is carried
step, step, step, held up
the top stays up and balanced
and one, two, three, a light goes
sympathy at thirty flies
ignorance at forty next
step, step, step, held up
one, two, three, four is carried
step, step, step, held up

 

This poem is about a dog limping down the road.  The poem is written with syllables counts of a tanka followed by a mirrored tanka that has the syllable counts in the reverse order.  Additionally, the poem has repeats.  Lines one, two and three, are the same as lines eight, nine and ten.  Additionally, within that, lines one, three, eight and ten are the same, and lines two and nine are the same.

The first line describes the dog limping.  The dog takes three steps, but can’t put its fourth leg down.  The second line reinforces this idea and the third repeats it.

The fourth line uses a top as a metaphor for how the dog is balanced on three legs.  The fifth line describes the pain the dog feels each time it moves its hurt leg.

Lines six and seven describe cars driving by.  The car in line six is going thirty miles per hour and the person inside notices the dog and has sympathy for it.  The car in line seven is going forty miles per hour, and the person inside does not notice the dog.

Lines eight, nine and ten, repeat lines one, two and three and are about the dog continuing to limp on after the cars drive by.