Poem with an explanation: the frame of steel

The artist’s frame,
there made of steel,
did walk about,
on clouds of snow.

It moved with ease,
and flew with wind,
its eyes were closed,
but it could see.

But steel was not,
what it did seem,
its core was clay,
that was not seen.

And there with sound,
a reed did swing,
and struck the frame,
there made of steel.

The steel did crack,
as did the clay,
and eyes closed tight,
and could not see.

And from the clouds,
the frame did fall,
and hit the stone,
that was below.

And it could see,
all that it was,
as with its eyes,
it say the clay.

And there with pain,
it crawled along,
its eyes could see,
the stone around.

And years did pass,
as it did move,
to the far pool,
that was so near.

And there it laid,
and caught its breath,
and hoped the time,
would heal the steel.

And suns did come,
and moons did go,
as it looked up,
to stars above.

And then it came,
out from the pool,
with open eyes,
it saw the land.

And it did walk,
upon the stone,
and with each step,
thought not of clouds.

And then the day,
did come with steps,
when it could fly,
as it once did.

It took a step,
and in the air,
it went up to,
the clouds above.

But now it walked,
with careful steps,
with eyes that saw,
the land below.

It saw the steel,
but knew the clay,
it flew in clouds,
but knew the stone.


This poem is about a person losing a sense of invincibility.  It the poem, the person feels physically invincible.  They then break their leg.  This shows them their fragility and brings them humility.

In terms of form, the poem is made of stanzas that have four lines each.  Each line has four syllables.

In the first stanza, the person is describe as an artist’s frame that’s made of steel.  The frame alludes to the person’s skeletal structure of bones and is an allusion to a frame an artist might use to make a clay model.  It is made of steel, which symbolizes the person’s perceived strength.

At this stage, the person moves effortlessly.  They move about without a care for their movement.  This is described as did walk about, on clouds of snow.

In the second stanza, this notion is continued.  The person is moving with ease and they move as though they flew with wind.  The person is carefree in their movement.  This is described by the fact that their eyes were closed.  The person moves though, as almost in a dream.  Though their eyes are closed, they can see themselves flying through the clouds.

The third stanza starts the moment of reality.  Although the person thought they were strong, they did not realize their physical weakness.  The steel the person thought they were made of, had a core of clay.

In the fourth stanza, the person has an injury.  To highlight the person’s vulnerability, the thing that hurts the person is a reed.  They were not hurt by a hammer or stone or iron, but rather by a plant that bends.  This symbolizes the idea that sometimes something small can cause a bone to break.

In the fifth stanza, the person’s bone breaks.  The steel cracks and so does the clay.  Before, the person’s eyes were closed because they were carefree.  Now the person’s eyes are closed in pain.

In the sixth stanza, the injury causes the person to fall from their carefree place and back to earth.  Rather than being in clouds, they are on stone.

In the seventh stanza, the person realizes their internal weakness.  They realize they are made of clay.

In the eight stanza, the person moves like a person with a broken bone.  They are in pain and they crawl.  They have a new understand of the ground as they are closer to it in their movements.

In the ninth stanza, the person struggles to find relief.  It takes them, metaphorically, years to get to a nearby pool where they can find respite.

In the tenth stanza, the person finds this place of respite.  They rest and hope that with time they will be healed.

In the eleventh stanza, time passes (as described by the sun and moon moving).  The person is aware of time as they heal and they look up to the sky to see it pass.

In the twelfth stanza, the person feels better enough to start moving again.  The person now is more grounded (in multiple metaphorical ways).  They see the land around them and are aware of where they are.

In the thirteenth stanza, the person is in a humbled place and although they are healed, they can’t move yet like they did before.  The person is grounded where they are and they don’t think of moving in a carefree way.

In the fourteenth stanza, the person finally feels totally better.  They can move like they once did.

In the fifteenth stanza, the person physically gets back to where they were before their injury.

In the sixteenth stanza, although the person is physically as they were before, they are not emotionally.  They are humbled.  They now move carefully and realize where they had been.

In the last stanza, the person realizes they have some physically strength, but they understand that it only goes so far.  While they have a strong ability to move, they don’t forget what it was like not to be able to.  They have come to understand their own weakness.


P. S. Hopefully you liked the poem with an explanation above. If you did, you might check out M. Sakran’s eBook Understanding: poems with explanations.  It is available for a price of $0.99 (plus tax where applicable) and contains twenty poems with explanations.  Currently, you can read the forward, introduction, the first poem, the first explanation, the second poem and part of the second explanation from the site where the link goes.  If you like what you read, please consider purchasing a copy.


Poetry topic idea: the number nine

Today’s poetry topic idea is the number nine.  Below are some ideas for how it can inspire poetry.

  • The number nine is a number of transition. Think if the ages of nine, nineteen, twenty nine, thirty nine and so forth.  Each age with a nine is the end of period of life.  The same idea applies to decades in history as well as in other situations.  A poet could apply this idea to poetry and write about transitions.

  • The number nine is useful for poetry form elements. A poet could have nine stanzas, nine lines, nine words per line, nine syllables per line, nine metrical feet per line, a layout on the page that looks like the number nine, nine rhyming pairs and other elements.

  • A poet could have nine things in a poem. They might have nine subjects or nine metaphors or nine allusions.  A poet could write about a topic in nine different ways.

A photograph to inspire poetry: lemon blossoms

Lemon Blossoms

Above is a photograph of lemon blossoms.  It can inspire poetry.  Below are some ideas.  A poet could write about:

  • Potential. These blossoms have the potential to be open flowers and then have the potential to be fruit.  A poet could write about the potential a person has.

  • Purple, white and green. The colors of the blossoms are purple and white and the leaves are green.  A poet could use these colors in a poem.

  • General nature and flowers. A poet could write plants and flowers and other elements of nature that are inspired by this photograph.

  • Closed. These blossoms are closed.  A poet could write about things that are closed.  They could write about a store, a room, a park or any number of things.

Here is a poem inspired by the photograph:

Arranged in rows,
purple baskets,
with white ribbons,
getting ready,
for the day.

Poetry essay: Explaining poetry: the author, the reader, or someone else

If you’ve read this blog before, you’ve probably noticed a recurring category is poems with explanations.  These are poems written and explained by M. Sakran.  There are over one hundred on this blog.  M. Sakran also has a self-published eBook available for purchase called Understanding: poems with explanations.

Having explained poems raises an interesting thought: What’s the difference between who explains a poem?  What’s the difference between an author explaining their poem, the reader of a poem thinking about what it means or a reader reading someone else’s explanation of a poem?

This idea sometimes comes up with art.  Does an artwork mean what the artist says it means?  Does it mean what each viewer thinks it means?  Does it mean what some third party says it means?

Each of these points of view has pros and cons in terms of explaining poetry, but each has value in explaining.

The author

Obviously, from the abundance of explained poems on this blog and the eBook of them, M. Sakran sees value in an author explaining their own work for readers.  There are a number of reasons for this.

First, the reader actually learns what the author meant.  While readers can come up with their own ideas and while they might hear the ideas of others, there is a sense that they never know if they are really right.  No matter how rational or thought out the explanations are, there is still always a bit of uncertainty involved without knowing what the author really meant.

This issue is solved when an author explains their own work.  Readers know exactly what the author meant.  The symbolism, metaphor, form elements and so forth are all explained.  A reader can truly understand what a particular poem meant.

Second, having the author explain their own work can be a great learning tool.  A reader can read a poem and think of what they think it means.  While this has value by itself, it has more value when the reader has something they can check it against.  A reader can find out how well they really understood a poem.

Third, when an author explains their own work, it means the true meaning of the work comes through.  With poetry, art, music and other creative endeavors there is the problem that can sometimes occur that readers, viewers or listeners don’t understand the work as the author intended.  They miss the message that was sent and may see messages that aren’t there.  While there is value in personal interpretation, it can cause an issue if an author had something specific they wanted to get across.  It can be frustrating to an author to feel like they are saying one thing, but consumers of their work are hearing another.  When an author explains their own work though, this issue is solved.

Despite the benefits of an author explaining their own work, there are some downsides.

First, it can take away from a central component of poetry – the idea that each person sees something different in a poem.  While each reader can form their own interpretation, when they find out what the author really meant, that aspect is gone.  The idea of creative thinking is stopped.  An aspect of discussion is gone.  It’s almost like when a magician explains a trick – the idea of trying to figure out how it was done disappears.

Second, while an author can explain their own work, they might not always do so completely.  There can often be subconscious elements in poetry.  An author may have included things that have symbolism and meaning and may not have even realized it.  Having someone else explain a poem though, can point these things out.

The reader

Interpreting poetry is something that can be central to reading poems.  While some poems are overt and clear in their meaning, other poems have more subtly and obscurity.  Even seemingly simple poems can have layers of meaning hidden within them.

Interpreting poetry might be an exercise you do in a class.  The class reads a number of poems and then goes line by line trying to understand what the poems truly mean.  They may include outside information such as historical information, information about the life of the authors or information about word meaning.  The idea is in some way to expound upon the symbolism.  It might be similar to when a clause in a contract is explained in plain language.  A one sentence clause might take five sentences to explain what it means.

There is a lot of value in a reader explaining poetry they read to themselves.

First, as mentioned above, having readers get their own meaning from poetry is a big part of the idea of poetry.  It’s like art in a way.  In some regard it is supposed to be different for each person.  This idea can be enhanced when a reader explains a poem for themselves.  They can get a better understanding of what they think a poem means and get more out of the reading experience.

Second, when a reader explains a poem to themselves, it can be a good learning exercise.  A reader learns to look into a poem.  They learn to see symbolism and metaphor.  They get experience seeing form elements.  They learn how the different pieces of a poem fit together.  This experience can improve a person’s ability to read poetry and also improve their ability to write it.

While there is value in a reader explaining poetry for themselves, there are some downsides.

First, as mentioned, a reader, without information from the author, will not ever know if they were correct in their interpretation.  It can be like taking a test, but not getting a grade.

While some may argue that being “correct” in interpreting poetry isn’t the idea of poetry, there is value in it if a reader wants to understand an author’s intention.  If a reader wants to understand what a poem “really means”, at least from the author’s perspective, then explaining it themselves can leave this unfulfilled.

Second, when a reader explains a poem for themselves they bring their own history and perspective to it.  What symbolism a reader sees in a poem, and how they see it, is influenced by the life of the reader.  Readers will see different things and see them differently depending on their history, where they live, their education, their age and so forth.

While this may be seen as a good thing in terms of the idea of each reader seeing a poem differently, it could also be seen as something that distorts the meaning of a poem.  In a sense, a reader is bringing bias into their explanation of a poem.  Their view in some sense is clouded.

Someone else

Readers of poetry sometimes can read explanations of poems written by someone other than the authors of the poems.  Some examples of this might be things like:

  Reading a review of a poetry book where the reviewer writes about the meaning of certain poems in the book.

  Reading a book that explains the poetry of a poet.  This might be seen with older or more well-known poetry.

  Reading or hearing an explanation of a poem from a peer, like in a classroom setting where the meaning of a poem is being discussed.

Getting these perspectives can have value for a reader when they try to understand what a poem means.

First, a reader gets an outside perspective.  They can read an explanation of a poem from someone else’s point of view.  Through this, they might discover symbolism and meaning that they might not have found or thought about on their own.

Second, if the reader is reading an explanation of a poem from someone with a good deal of experience writing about poetry, such as a poetry reviewer might have, they can not only get a different perspective on the meaning of the poem, they might get a more skilled one.  If a person regularly writes about poetry, they might develop skills in its interpretation.  A reader can benefit from this, in addition to the outside perspective.

Third, an explanation from someone else might help a reader enhance their own explanation of a poem.  A reader can take what others say about a poem, combine it with what they may have thought on their own, and develop a fuller explanation of a poem.  A reader can also combine multiple outside explanations of a poem for this same benefit.

While outside perspectives on poetry can be beneficial, they have some downsides.

First, they can influence how a reader reads a poem.  When a reader reads an explanation of a poem, they might have trouble reading and understanding the poem “cleanly”.  They might have trouble seeing and interpreting the poem without the explanation they read in the back of their mind.  They might have trouble seeing it without that perspective influencing what they think.

Second, reading an outside perspective of a poem might influence a reader not to explain the poem for themselves.  They might feel that since they read an explanation, there isn’t as much reason to think of the poem’s meaning on their own.  This can mean that a reader misses out on the experience that comes from thinking about what a poem means.


When it comes to understanding poetry, there are a number of perspectives.  A reader can read an author’s explanation, someone else’s or develop their own.  All of the perspectives have benefits and downsides.

If a reader wants to get the most from understanding poetry, they might be best served by combining the perspectives.

A reader could read a poem and think about what it means for themselves.  After that, if available, they could read an explanation of the poem from someone else.  This might exist already for more well-known poetry.  If there isn’t an explanation available, a reader could find a peer to read the poem and give their perspective.  Finally, again if available, a reader could read the author’s perspective on the poem.  Obviously this exists for many of the poems on this blog, as well as those in M. Sakran’s eBook.  It might also exists for other poems depending on what the authors did.  A reader might be able to find a book where an author explains their poetry, they might find some explanation of poems on things like blogs, or they might find explanations of poems in author interviews.

If a reader combines their own perspective, outside perspectives and author perspectives on poetry they can learn more about poetry interpretation, how to read poetry and how to write it.  When they put the perspectives together they can see poems in a way that they may not have with just one perspective.  In a way the perspectives can be more together than they were apart.

If a reader combines perspectives on poetry meaning, they can come to a fuller understanding of poetry and a better appreciation for it.

Experimental Poetry Form: two triangles

This experimental poetry form is called two triangles, and is based off of word count, page layout and rhyme.

The poem is centered on the page.  The first line has ten words, the second nine, the third eight, and so forth to the tenth line which has one word.  The eleventh line also has one word, the twelfth has two, the thirteenth has three, and this continues to the twentieth line which has ten words.  Lines of equal word count rhyme.

Below is what the form looks like.  A * represents a word.


The rhyming pattern is:


Bilingual Poem: perspective

by the old house,
with an elderly man,
the young man,
took pictures of,
the old house,
for fear,
it would not be there,
much longer


estando de pie,
cerca de la casa vieja,
con un hombre mayor,
el hombre joven,
sacó fotografías de,
la casa vieja,
por miedo,
lo no está existir,
mucho más tiempo

Poem with an explanation: Pound ounce

Pound ounce,
pound ounce,
the eyes close,
in silence.

Pound ounce,
pound ounce,
the statue changes,
its expression.

With the chain,
around the leg,
the rock nearby,
seems like the moon.

In the shoes,
for the grain of sand,
the hands are held,
and eyes open.

Pound ounce,
pound ounce,
waiting for the day,
without pound ounce.


This poem is about a person who hurt their foot.  They hit their foot on something and are in considerable pain days later.  They have not sought medical attention, and, despite the pain, they believe their foot is not broken.  They try to go about their day as best they can.

When the person walks, they step heavily with their good leg in attempt to move themselves forward and support their weight.  They step lightly with their hurt foot because of the pain.  The heavy step is symbolized with the weight “pound” (which also symbolizes the pounding of the step into the ground) and the light step is symbolized with the weight “ounce”.  Each “pound ounce” set (except for the last) refers to the person taking a step forward.

In the first stanza, the person takes two steps.  They feel pain and close their eyes as they cringe.  They don’t make a noise, as holding the sound in, in some way, holds the pain in.

In the second stanza, the person takes two more steps.  The person, being relatively immobile, is described as a statue.  Their facial expression changes because of the pain.

In the third stanza, the idea of relative distance is examined.  The person has trouble walking.  This is symbolized as them having a chain around their leg.  Because of this, something that is nearby seems as though it is far away.  This is symbolized by the idea of the moon.  The moon looks nearby when it is bright and full, almost as if it were a few hundred feet or a few miles away.  In reality, this is an illusion, and the moon is very far away.  It looks close, but is at a considerable distance.  This relates to the object the person wants, that is in reality close, but because of their ailment is as if it is a considerable distance away.

The person’s condition has taught them empathy.  The person, so to speak, is “walking in the shoes” of someone who is disabled.  They are experience what having a disability is like, even if only for a brief time (for the grain of sand – as in one grain of sand falling in an hour glass, which represents a very small amount of time).  This causes them to feel a connection to the disabled (the hands are held) and they open their eyes (metaphorically) to their situation.

In the last stanza, the person takes two more steps, and in their pain, they feel like they are waiting for the day when the pain is gone and they can walk normally.

A photograph to inspire poetry: full moon

full moon

The above photograph is of a full moon.  Light, medium and dark areas can be seen, as well as an impact spot on the right.  The shadow is of a tree branch.

The photograph can inspire poetry.  Some ideas might be:

  • Writing directly about the moon. A poet could write about the moon orbiting the Earth, about how it was formed or about what it is made of.

  • Tides. The moon influences tides and a poet could write about that.

  • The impact site. In the photograph, an impact site can be seen.  A poet could write about asteroids and meteors and about impacts on the moon or planets.

  • Science fiction. A poet might imagine various science fiction ideas related to the moon.  They could imagine a civilization on it, colonizing it or a science fiction poem where the moon interacts with the Earth in an unusual way.

  • The full moon. A poet could write various poems about the full moon.  They could write about its influence on people, both in a physical and in a psychological way.  They could write about how it affects animals.  They could write about the light that shines from it.