Post Series: Poems with Explanations: Perseverance

Pound, pound, pound, pound,
hammers swing against the posts,
pound, pound, pound, pound,
the concrete shakes as it all moves.

Falling, falling,
a stumble goes,
falling, falling,
down the path.

Distance flees,
distance flees,
as metal strains,
and sprockets fly.

and triumph,
and dreams,
are over hills,
and over seas.

and triumph,
and dreams,
are over hills,
and over seas.

There’s the bell,
there’s the hope,
falling down,
climbing up.

There’s the bell,
there’s the hope,
someone please,
pull the rope.

Movement goes,
movement goes,
empty speaks,
empty speaks.

The bell does ring,
the bell does ring,
and there on steps,
stillness lays.


This poem is about a boy in the late 1800s running to the center of town, to tell the people that his house is on fire.  The idea of the time period was to have a plausible setting for someone to have to run to get help for a fire.  A time period without cell phones, for example, was needed.

The poem starts with the boy having already run a great distance.  He is tired and his legs are heavy and they hurt.  He feels the effort of each step (Pound, pound, pound, pound) and feels the pain of each movement in his legs (hammers swing against the posts).  His legs feel heavier with each step (pound, pound, pound, pound) and he feels as though he is going to crumble (the concrete shakes as it all moves).

As he continues to run and tire, his movements get less controlled (Falling, falling) and it is like he is stumbling continuously (a stumble goes).  His running is like a constant effort to stop from falling (falling, falling) and this happens as he moves down a path to town (down the path).

In the distance, he can see his goal.  It is a civic building of some sort in the center of town.  As he moves though, because of his strain and effort it seems that the building is running from him (Distance flees, distance flees).  Metaphorically, the boy’s skeleton is like a metal frame.  In his weakness, it is straining (as metal strains).  It is like his body is a machine that is moving too much and too fast and is falling apart as it goes (and sprockets fly).

The boy is going through great effort.  This effort though is meaningful as opposed to effort that is meaningless.  The boy is not running a race (Race), he is not hoping for any sort of glory (and triumph).  He is not running because of some personal drive (goals) or because he hopes for some achievement (and dreams).  All of those ideas are far from him (are over hills, and over seas).

The boy is running a race though (Race).  He is racing to save his home and family.  There is a sense of triumph (and triumph) should he succeed.  His success is his goal (goals) and dream (and dreams).  He is trying to achieve this by running over hills (are over hills) and through water (and over seas).

As the boy runs, he nears the building.  The building has a bell to alert the town to crisis or call people to action (There’s the bell).  Having the bell ring, is what this boy hopes for (there’s the hope).  As he runs, he weakens (falling down), but keeps trying (climbing up).

The boy gets closer and his mind is fixed on the bell ringing (There’s the bell, there’s the hope).  Although he can’t speak, because he is winded, in his mind he is crying out for help (someone please, pull the rope).

The boy finally makes it to the building and people start moving about him (Movement goes, movement goes).  With great effort he tells them his home is on fire (empty speaks, empty speaks).

The people hear the boy and sound the bell (The bell does ring, the bell does ring).  The boy then collapses on the steps (and there on steps, stillness lays).

This poem is about perseverance and effort toward a worthwhile goal.  The boy is very focused on something and internally deals with the pain as he pursues it.

The main form element of this poem is that of repeats.

In stanza one, lines one and three are repeats.  Additionally, those lines are each composed of a word repeated four times.

In stanza two, lines one and three are again repeats.  In those lines a word is repeated twice.

In stanza three, lines one and two are repeats.

Stanza four is repeated in stanza five (although the meaning changes).

The first two lines of stanza six are repeated in the first two lines of stanza seven.

In stanza eight, lines one and two are repeats and lines three and four are repeats.

In stanza nine, lines one and two are repeats.

An additional form element is one rhyme (ignoring the rhymes of repeated lines) that is in stanza seven with the words hope and rope.


Do you like poems with explanations?

M. Sakran’s self-published book of poems with explanations called Understanding: poems with explanations is available for purchase as an eBook for an available price of $0.99. Buy your copy today!

To help celebrate the self-publication of this book, there is a post series of poems with explanations on the blog.  Above is a poem with an explanation for the series.  This poem with an explanation (as well as the rest in the series) is not from the book.  It is a different one that is part of this post series for readers to read and enjoy.