so five times ten plus one does cheer the day
and by the sides the less by two does cry
and those with one do say the world is right
while those beside do say the thought does lie
This poem is about voting. It looks at it from the viewpoint of the minority in a vote.
In the poem, some vote has just been cast. One side won and another side lost.
The side that won had fifty percent of the vote plus one vote (five times ten plus one). They are very happy about what has happened (cheer the day).
The other side lost by one vote. To win they would have needed two more votes (if the other side did not lose any votes). They are not in the majority and so are described as being by the sides. Their lack of majority is described as being less by two. They are unhappy with what has happened (does cry).
The side that won (those with one) applauds the process. They believe in the process and that it led to the right outcome (do say the world is right).
The side that lost (those beside) disagree with this idea (do say the thought does lie).
This poem looks at the idea of voting from the minority point of view. It looks from the perspective of those who barely lose a vote. It questions the idea that a majority supporting something implies that the idea supported is right in some inherent way. It amplifies the idea by having the majority wining by just one vote.
This notion came come up in politics when a side that loses questions the outcome. They can believe strongly in their point of view and therefore question the idea that if the majority feels the other way, that things should be the other way. Despite losing the vote, they still believe they are right.
This notion can come up on both sides of the political spectrum. If a side believes themselves to be right, they can question the process if it leads to an outcome they don’t agree with. They can feel that despite the majority opposition, their minority point of view still is valid and still should be in effect.
This poem uses the form mentioned in the poetry essay: iambic meter from yesterday’s post. The poem is one stanza written in iambic pentameter with lines two and four rhyming.