Poem with an explanation: the lights are dim this year

From fear,
of height and task,
the lights are dim this year,
and there within the empty walls,
sand flows.

 

This poem is about Christmas lights.  The first two lines give a reason for something, the third line says what the something is, and the last two lines describe the consequence.

In the poem, a person does not put Christmas lights on their home.  This is stated in the third line as “the lights are dim this year”.  The reason the person does not put up the lights is that they are afraid of something (From fear).  The person is afraid of climbing up on their roof (of height) and of the work that putting up lights will involve (and task).

Because the person does not put up Christmas lights, there is a consequence.  On the inside, the person wants to put up the lights (or, rather, wants the lights to be up).  The person though does not do what they want, because of the fear they have.  This causes a sense of discomfort in the person.  This discomfort comes from the fact that there is only a short time each year that the person can have Christmas lights on their house, and if they don’t put them up, they will miss their opportunity.  These ideas are described in the last two lines.

In the fourth line of the poem, and there within the empty walls, there is a literal and figurative meaning.  On the literal side, because the person has been affected by not putting up lights outside of their home, it has caused them stress, which has led to them not decorating the inside of their house as much as they would have.  That is why the walls of their house are described as empty.  In a figurative sense, the person is empty inside because they have not done something they wanted to do.  This emptiness is manifested in the fifth line.

In the fifth line, sand flows, the somewhat cliché idea of sand flowing to signify time flowing is used.  The cliché is used because the person has only taken one step in the feeling.  They have not gone to a deeper place.  All they feel, is the time flowing by and their opportunity to put lights up going away.  The person hasn’t thought more about it.

In addition to this being a poem about Christmas lights, it also has a broader meaning.  It is more generally, a poem about missed opportunity.  The poem describes a situation where an opportunity was willfully being missed, and yet there was still time to take the opportunity.  It describes the feeling of waiting while the time disappears.  It focuses on the consciousness of missing an opportunity.

This poem is a cinquain.  It has five lines, is written in iambic meter and follows the syllable and stress pattern of one type of the form.  Because the form was short, it gave a sense of trying to think of more poignant ideas and phrases to get the message across.

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M. Sakran has a self-published book of poems with explanations. It is called Understanding: poems with explanations and is available for purchase as an eBook for an available price of $0.99. If you like poems with explanations and like to support writers whose work you enjoy, then consider purchasing a copy today.

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