Poem with an explanation: Two women

sitting on the chair,
in the silence of the room,
back to the story

sitting on the chair,
in the music of the room,
back to the story

 

This poem contrasts the experiences of two women.  Before the poem begins, both women are in similar circumstances.  Both women are invited to the same party.  Both women are introverts and don’t do well in social situations.  They have a hard time talking to strangers, they are not knowledgeable of popular culture, and they don’t communicate well in large groups.

Under these circumstances, the first woman (the one in the first stanza) decides not to go to the party.  She feels that if she goes, she won’t be able to talk to others or interact with a large group, and that she will feel uncomfortable or lonely.

The second woman (the one in the second stanza) decides to go to the party.  She feels lonely at home and thinks that she might meet people and make friends at the party.  She believes that she will feel part of a group if she goes and that she will feel less lonely going than if she stayed at home.

In the poem, it turns out that the first woman made the better decision.

When the poem starts, it is an hour into the party.  The first woman, as described in the first stanza, is sitting at home in a chair.  She is reading a novel.  There is a point where she realizes she is alone, when she notices the silence in the room.  For a moment this makes her feel lonely, but then she escapes into the story of her novel.

The second woman, as described in the second stanza, is sitting alone in a chair at the party.  She is a wallflower.  Although she had wanted to interact with others, her shyness and lack of social skills prevents her.  Also, no one at the party initiates interaction with her.

The second woman is sitting by herself, and she notices the music of the room.  There is talking and dancing and music and a party going on around her.  She isn’t part of it though, and sitting there makes her feel awkward.  She feels self-conscious and thinks that people are noticing her by herself.  She doesn’t know where to look or what to do so that she doesn’t look like she is doing nothing.  As a means of escape, she daydreams.  When she daydreams, she has moments where she feels like she is no longer in the room, and it provides her comfort.

In the poem, the first woman is able to be more comfortable and feel less lonely, ironically, because she is alone.  Unlike the second woman, who has her aloneness accentuated by people around her who seem to be a group she is not part of, the first woman is better able to ignore the fact that she is alone because there is no one there to remind her of it.

In terms of form, this poem is made up of two poems.  Each stanza is a 5/7/5 haiku.

Both stanzas are almost identical.  There is only one word of difference between the two.  The first stanza has “silence” and the second has “music”.  In a twist from how the poem might at first be read, the silence of the first stanza turns out to be less lonely causing than the music of the second.

 

P. S.  M. Sakran was wondering if anyone would be interested in participating in a poem with an explanation collaboration. The basic idea would be that a person would write a poem, and M. Sakran would write an explanation of it.  The details would have to be worked out, but it might be something that could be interesting.  If anyone is interested in this idea, please contact M. Sakran using the form on the Contact Page.  Thank you.

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