Milestone: Five Year Anniversary

Today is the five year anniversary of the first post on M. Sakran’s blog of and about poetry and poetry related things.

Five years is a long time.  It feels like a long time.  Including this post, there have been 1,263 posts on this blog.  That feels like a lot of posts.

Shortly after the blog was started, there was some concern about what to post.  It seemed like there were no new ideas.  Of course, something was found.

There are many ideas to the blog.

Part of the idea of the blog is to educate readers.  That’s the purpose of the poems with explanations and the poetry essays.

Part of the idea of the blog is to give readers ideas for poetry.  That’s the purpose of the poetry topic ideas, artworks to inspire poetry, and photography to inspire poetry.

Part of the idea of the blog is to help readers write poetry.  That’s the purpose of the experimental poetry forms.

Of course, part of the idea of the blog is to give readers poems to read.  That’s the purpose of the poems and the bilingual poems.

Hopefully readers have benefited from all of this.  Hopefully some people out there have gotten something from it.

If you haven’t yet, please follow the blog.  There is a button in the sidebar you can click to do so.

Also, if you haven’t yet, you can check out M. Sakran’s two books.  There’s First Try, a traditionally published collection of poetry, and Understanding: poems with explanations, a self-published eBook of poems with explanations.

If you’d like to send M. Sakran a message about the blog, you can use the contact form on the contact page.

Also, be sure and check out M. Sakran’s website at www.msakran.com.

Thank you to all readers.

Here’s a poem for the day:

the bee flies
from flower to flower
five years of journey

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Poem: At the top of the mountain

At the top of the mountain,
a house of glass,
surrounded by crowds,
looking inside.

A house of glass,
is seen as gold,
from the valley below,
where eyes look up.

Surrounded by crowds,
the paths are blocked,
refuge in walls,
is quickly sought.

Looking inside,
the house of glass,
all seems bright,
from the outside.

Bilingual Poem: Hey, what’s that?

Doctor’s visit.

Hey, what’s that?

That looks like a needle.

Tetanus shot?

No one said anything about a tetanus shot.

Hey, wait …

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

 

Visita de medico.

¿Oye, qué esa?

Ése parece como una aguja.

¿Una inyección de tétanos?

No uno habló nada de una inyección de tétanos.

Oye, espera …

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

Poem: progress

There were four:

  the horse, the driver, the carriage, and the passenger.

Then there was the horseless carriage and there were three:

  the driver, the car, and the passenger.

Now there is the driverless car and there are two:

  the car and the passenger.

In the future, will there be teleportation, and only be one:

  the passenger?

And after that, will there be virtual travel, and there be none?

Poem with an explanation: the hill, the valley, and the mountain

the hill
did look down
on the valley
and chastised it
for being so low

the wind blew
the rain fell

the mountain
looked toward the sky

 

This poem is about care for the elderly and perspective.  It is about relative positions in life.

In the poem there are three people: the valley, the hill, and the mountain.  The valley represents the elderly person.  The hill represents the adult child of the elderly person.  The mountain represents the child of the adult child.  This is three generations.

In the poem, the adult child is frustrated with their elderly parent.  They look down on them and chastise them for their physical incapability.  They can’t understand why the elderly person can’t be like themselves.

The adult child is oblivious to the progression of life.  In the poem there are three stages: a mountain, a hill, and a valley.  As a mountain erodes it becomes a hill.  As a hill erodes, it becomes a valley.  The adult child is criticizing their elderly parent for their physical incapability, not realizing they are moving in the same direction.  They don’t see their own erosion (represented by the wind and rain).  They don’t see where they’ve been, and they aren’t realizing where they are going.  They don’t realize they will be elderly someday, and therefore they don’t have compassion on someone who is elderly.

The mountain, representing the person in the third generation, has their focus somewhere else.  They don’t see the hill or the valley.  This shows that they are oblivious both to the treatment of their elderly relative, and of the reality that they will one day be in that position.  They don’t see the future implications for themselves.  They are concerned with other things.

It can sometimes occur in the care of the elderly, that the caregiver doesn’t see themselves in the one they care for.  They don’t see that they too will be in that position.  It can also be the case that younger generations are concerned about other things and don’t see the actions of caregivers or the condition of the elderly.  The poem is meant to highlight these things.

Poetry topic idea: fitness

Today’s poetry topic idea is fitness.  A poet could write about a number of subjects related to fitness.  Some of them include: fitness itself, exercise, weight lifting, cardiovascular health, weight loss, muscle, physical ability, appearance, body image, general health, wellness, running, swimming, cycling, walking, weight, measurements, and goals.

Here is an example poem using fitness:

three thousand five hundred fifty steps
five days
seventeen thousand seven hundred fifty steps

sixty pounds
three sets
ten reps
three exercises
three days
sixteen thousand two hundred pounds

ten laps
twenty five meters
three days
seven hundred and fifty meters

thirty four thousand seven hundred

one body

Artwork to inspire poetry: hand with a rubber band

hand with rubber band

Above is an artwork of a hand with a rubber band.  It can inspire poetry.  A poet could write about:

  • Restriction.  The fingers of the hand are restricted by the rubber band.   A poet could apply this idea to a person or a group of people being restricted by something.
  •  

  • Degrees of freedom.  In the artwork, the thumb is completely free.  The ring and the pinky fingers have less mobility, and the first and middle finger are bound together.  A poet could apply this idea of degrees of freedom to situations in life.
  •  

  • Rhyming with “and”.  In the artwork there is a hand with a rubber band.  A poet could see this and think that “hand” and “band” rhyme.  They could then write a poem with other words that rhyme with “and”.  Here are some words that rhyme with “and”: band, banned, canned, fanned, gland, hand, land, manned, panned, paned, rand, stand, and tanned.
  •  

  • Boredom.  A poet could see the artwork of a hand with a rubber band and think of someone bored at that their desk who is playing with an office supply to pass the time.  They could extend this idea and write about other ways people deal with boredom.

 

Here is an example poem:

thumbing through the records
pointing at the band
the one in the middle
and hearing the music ring
as they strummed their pink guitars

Experimental Poetry Form: small plane

Today’s experimental poetry form is called small plane.  It based off of layout on the page.  It is meant to generally resemble a small plane from the top.  It looks as follows:

                              ****
    ***                    ****
 ********************
 ********************
 ********************
    ***                    ****
                              ****

A poem written in the form is read from top to bottom and from left to right.

Here is an example poem written in the form:

                        Some
    day              when
 words of action mean
 more than high ideas
 those in robes will go
    and              find
                        work

Poetry essay: Does the meaning of a poem change over time?

If you’ve ever read a poem that was written years ago you may have wondered about this question.  Are you seeing the poem in the same way as readers did when it was written?  Are you seeing the poem the same as the author intended?  Does the meaning of a poem change over time?

From one perspective, the answer to this question is no.  There is the idea that when a poet writes a poem they impart meaning to it.  There is meaning in the symbolism, the word choice, and the form.

In some sense, this meaning is fixed.  The poem means what the poet wanted it to mean.  Whether people later (or even at the time) interpret it differently doesn’t change that.  The original meaning is still there.

In another sense though, it could be argued that the meaning of a poem does change over time.  There is the idea that a poem changes with history, the audience, and with language.

Think about a poem about a current event.  When the poem was written, the event was current.  Readers would see the poem from the perspective of the present.  In the future though, readers have the perspective of looking back on the past.  They, in some sense, know what happens later and so have a different perspective on what happened before.

Think about reading a poem about some event in the 1960s.  An example might be an election taking place.  If you look up the election, and know who won, the poem might seem different to you than it would to a person who was reading it at the time who didn’t know who was going to win.

In addition to this idea, readers of poems can change.  Society can change.  Attitudes and preferences can change.  A poem written in the past might seem very different to a present audience and by extension would seem different to a future one.

Think about gender roles in history.  These can change over time.  A poem portraying the status of a woman in the 1800s might seem very different to today’s audience.  A poem that was meant to be very progressive at the time, might seem just the opposite to someone reading it today.

In addition to this, language can change.  Over time people don’t use the same words and they might not use the words they use in the same way.  Readers of poems might get a very different meaning if they understand the language differently.

Think about dialing a phone.  In the past, if used a rotary telephone, you actually dialed a number.  You physically turned a dial to input each number.  Now the word simply means to input a number to make a phone call.

If a person was reading a poem from the past, and it talked about the physical act of dialing a phone and related it to other things, the meaning might not be clear to them if they don’t understand the word in the same way.

There are implications to these ideas.

First, if you are reading a poem from the past, you might be concerned that you aren’t getting from it what was intended.  You might feel you are missing something or are seeing it in the wrong way.  This same concern applies to any poetry interpretation, whether a poem from the past or a new one.

Second, if you are writing poetry, you might wonder how readers of your work will perceive it over time.  Will they see the same things you intended?  Will history change the tone of your work?  Will they read the words in the same way?

This might be a concern if you want your work to be lasting.  You might worry that time will change your work.

If you are concerned about the first issue, you might try to place poems in context.  Learn about the author and the time period of the poem.  Read their other work.  This can help you place the poem in perspective.

If are worried about the second issue, you could first try to write poetry that is clearer in meaning.  Leaving out the issue of obscurity will help the meaning of the poem get through.  You could also consider writing explanations of some your poems, as M. Sakran does for some poems on this blog.  That way readers would know your meaning even after time changes.

Does the meaning of a poem change over time?

In some sense the answer is both yes and no.  A poem has a fixed meaning, but the meaning that people get from it can change.  As a reader and a writer of poetry you should consider this.  It can help you try to see poems from the past from the intended perspective, and it can help you to impart more lasting meaning to your work.