Post Series: Poems with Explanations: Shapes

It is what you see,
but it isn’t what you see.

When in a sea,
looking at the sea,
and thinking of the sea,
is it what you see?

All that you see,
floating in the sea,
does start with c,
no matter what you see.

Do you see?


This poem is a riddle.  Before reading the explanation, take some time to think about what the poem is referring to, and make a guess.  Then, read on, to see if you were right and find out what the poem means.




The answer to the riddle is:


That is what the poem is about.  The first stanza says, “It is what you see, but it isn’t what you see.”  This is referring to the idea of seeing shapes in clouds.  On the one hand, the shape is what a person sees.  A person thinks a cloud looks like a rabbit, for example, and so, in a sense of description, it is a rabbit.  In a realistic sense however, it isn’t a rabbit.  It’s a cloud.

In the second stanza, the imagery is of a person lying in the grass looking up at the clouds.

The first line says, “When in a sea“.  This is referring to the “sea of grass” the person is lying down in.

The next line says, “looking at the sea“.  This is referring to looking at the sky, which can be referred to metaphorically, as a sea.

The third line says, “and thinking of the sea“.  The idea here was to have something a person could imagine while looking at the clouds.  In this case, the thing is the sea.  It can bring up images of fish, dolphins, sail boats, etc.

The last line asks a question, “is it what you see?”.  The idea here references the idea in the first stanza.  If a person is lying in the grass, looking up at the sky, thinking of the sea, and they see a cloud that looks like a dolphin, is that cloud a dolphin?  The answer, not given in this stanza, is the same as from the first stanza.

Depending on the setting and the way the question is asked, the answer could be yes or no.  If someone were lying in the grass with the person and they were both saying what the clouds were shaped liked, and one asked the other, “Is that a dolphin?”  The answer might be yes.  In another setting though, if someone pointed at the sky and asked the same question, the answer given could be no.

The next stanza refers to the same idea of seeing shapes in the clouds.  It brings up a somewhat silly point, that regardless of what a person sees in the clouds, that the clouds are still clouds.  So, for example, if a person sees a dolphin in the clouds, it is still a cloud.  Regardless of what a person sees, they are seeing a cloud, and cloud starts with c.

The last stanza is asking the reader a question.  It is basically asking, “Do you know the answer to the riddle?”

In terms of form, every lines ends with the sound of “see” (either see, sea, or c)


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.