Poem with an explanation: Where were you?

Where were you,
upon that day,
when specters came,
and had their way?

Where were you,
amongst the wail,
as teeth did bite,
and claws did flail?

Where were you,
amongst the cries,
as blood did flow,
whilst hope demise?

Where were you,
unlike the one,
although so small,
his fear was none?

Where were you,
like days of past,
when he did fight,
up to the last?

Where were you,
as there one lay,
when specters came,
and had their way?


This poem is an admonition.  The speaker in the poem is chastising someone for not helping them in their time of need.  In the poem, there are three characters and one group of characters.  There is the one asking the questions, the one he is asking them to, the one from the past, and the specters.

In this poem, the one speaking is describing being attacked.  He is attacked by those he calls specters.  The poem takes place after the attack.

In the first stanza, the speaker questions someone who did not help him.  He asks why the one was not there when he was attacked.

In the second stanza, the speaker describes the attack.  He describes crying out and being hurt.  He again asks, why there was no help.

In the third stanza, the speaker describes the finality of the attack.  He describes his pain, the severity of the attack and his hope failing.

In the fourth stanza, the poem takes a turn.  A new character is introduced.  This character is someone from the past who is no longer there.  This character is someone the speaker could and did rely on in the past.  In this stanza, the speaker questions the one who didn’t help him again.  He makes a comparison between this one and the one from the past.  He describes the courage of the one from the past.

In the fifth stanza, the speaker continues the idea of the stanza before.  He describes this one from the past fighting for him until the last moment.

The sixth stanza comes back to ideas from before.  It describes the result of the attack and asks again why there was no help.

This poem describes a general idea.  It describes someone experiencing pain from some other group (whether physical or emotional or both) and questioning why their friend did not help them.  Imagine someone being bullied by a group and seeing their friend stand by and do nothing.  This is the general idea, although the notion could be applied to other situations, some more realistic and some more metaphorical.

In the poem, the one experiencing pain remembers someone from their past who used to help them, but is no longer there, and wonders why their current friend did not help them.

Although the one who didn’t help doesn’t answer the questions in the poem, the answer is, that they were afraid.  They were afraid of what would happen to themselves if they intervened in the situation, and so they did nothing.

This is a form poem.  There are six stanzas that all follow the same form.  The form is:

Line 1: Where were you (a three syllable line)
Line 2: 4 syllables/Rhyming line
Line 3: 4 syllables
Line 4: 4 syllables/Rhyming line/Ends in a question mark

Additionally, the last stanza mirrors the first.  In the two stanzas, lines 1, 3 and 4 match.  Additionally, the rhyming sound is the same.


Do you like poems with explanations?  Do you like to support writers whose work you enjoy?

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.