Post Series: Poems with Explanations: Despair

This poem can be read in three ways.  It can be read horizontally by column, it can be read vertically by rows, and it can be read as five verses.  The middle seven lines are verse one, the first seven lines of column one are verse two, the second set of seven lines of column one are verse three (the last line of verse two is the first line of verse three), the first seven lines of column three are verse four, and the second set of seven lines of column three are verse five (again, the last line of verse four, is the first line of verse five).

Please read the poem each way and then read the explanation that follows.

crying                                                               out
with pain                                                         of fear
that overwhelms                                            the life
the eyes see                    tubes                      of pain
despair                            flowing in               unceasingly
hopelessly                      flowing out             with grief
growing                          the light                   cries
in silence                        the sounds              in twisted tones
like warped bells          unrealistically         shattering
deafeningly                    surrounds               the life
crushing                                                           in pieces
the hope                                                          on the floor
inside                                                               despairingly


Here is the poem written out in the different ways:

By verse:

Verse One: Tubes, flowing in, flowing out, the light, the sounds, unrealistically surrounds.

Verse Two: Crying, with pain that overwhelms, the eyes see despair hopelessly growing.

Verse Three: Growing, in silence, like warped bells, deafeningly crushing, the hope inside.

Verse Four: Out of fear, the life of pain, unceasingly with grief, cries.

Verse Five: Cries, in twisted tones, shattering the life in pieces, on the floor, despairingly.

By column:

Column One: Crying, with pain that overwhelms, the eyes see despair, hopelessly growing in silence, like warped bells, deafeningly crushing, the hope inside.

Column Two: Tubes, flowing in, flowing out, the light, the sounds, unrealistically surrounds.

Column Three: Out of fear, the life of pain, unceasingly with grief, cries in twisted tones, shattering the life, in pieces on the floor, despairingly.

By rows:

Crying out, with pain of fear, that overwhelms the life, the eyes see tubes of pain, despair flowing in, unceasingly, hopelessly, flowing out, with grief.  Growing, the light cries in silence, the sounds, in twisted tones, like warped bells, unrealistically shattering, deafeningly surrounds the life.  Crushing, in pieces, the hope, on the floor, inside despairingly.


Readers of M. Sakran’s blog of and about poetry and poetry related things, will know that M. Sakran invents and uses experimental poetry forms.  This poem was written using an experimental poetry form, but not one invented by M. Sakran.

This poem was written in Freyan Verse.  Freyan Verse is a poetry form that was developed by Freya Pickard.  Readers of this blog will know, that Freya Pickard wrote the foreword to M. Sakran’s collection of poems with explanations, Understanding: poems with explanations.  The details of the poetry form can be found here: Freyan Verse.  Details of the form won’t be written here, but there will be some about how the form was applied.

This form is about two people.  One person is a patient in an intensive care unit.  The other person, is a family member by the bed of the person.  The general idea of the poem is that the family member is devastated that the person is in the intensive care unit.

Verse one, describes the physical sight the family member sees.  There are tubes going in and out of the person, there are lights on machines and different sounds, and everything seems unreal.

Verse two, describes the emotion of the family member.  They are devastated and they think the person will die.

Verse three continues the idea of verse two.  In this verse though, there is more of an overwhelming speechless despair.

Verse four goes back to the family member crying.  Here, they become uncontrollable.

Verse five shows how devastated the family member is, as they fall on the floor in tears.

One interesting point about the verses, is that the person isn’t directly focused on.  The person is focused on from the perspective of the family member.  The verses focus on the family member’s reaction.

Looking at the columns, column one, expresses the hopeless despair of the family member.  Column two shows the physical state of the person.  Column three shows the family member crying in devastation.

By rows, the first sentence focus on the family member looking at the person.  They are overwhelmed with what the person is going through.  The second sentence focuses on the sight and sound of the ICU and the effect this has on the family member.  The third sentence focuses on the devastation of the family member.

In a good way, using Freyan Verse was difficult.  There was a challenge that made each successful part (row, column section and verse section) feel like an accomplishment.

Verse one, per the instructions of the form, was written first.  To make the word flow sound right, as the poem was written, “the lights” was changed to “the light” and “unrealism” was changed to “unrealistically”.

After verse one, the poem was written with a simultaneous focus on row and column.  Although there is a little bit of a poetic sound to some parts, there was an effort made to make sure the poem sounded right in all the ways it could be read.  There was some sense that it had to make sense in all directions.  Hopefully this was achieved.

Trying to make sure the poem made sense in all directions was a challenging aspect of using the form.  There was a constant sense of checking as the poem went.  Although having the form “make sense” in all directions (“make sense” meaning that it flows in somewhat of a natural way and has complete ideas) is not actually a requirement of the form (additionally, the idea of verses making self-contained sense, isn’t really referred to).  The poem could have been written in a more abstract way.  Trying to make the poem make sense in all directions though, hopefully added something to the poem and was actually an interesting challenge to undertake.


Part of the reason this form was used on the blog today, is that today, on Pure Haiku, a blog run by Freya Pickard, M. Sakran has a haiku published.  This haiku was submitted and accepted to Pure Haiku before Freya was contacted about writing the foreword to Understanding: poems with explanations.  You can read the poem here: a haiku by M. Sakran.


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.