Poem with an explanation: scrub, scrub, scrub

In the morning,
scrub, scrub, scrub.

In the evening,
scrub, scrub, scrub.

The blemish remains.


This is a poem about a person dealing with guilt.  Symbolically, it is described as a person trying to get rid of a blemish on their skin.

The person goes to repeated (morning and evening) and extensive lengths (scrub, scrub, scrub) to get rid of the blemish.  This represents the person trying to get rid of the guilt they have.  The scrubbing is their mental attempts to deal with what they have done.  They try to “scrub” it so that it doesn’t seem so bad and so that it will go away.  They don’t succeed though.  The guilt they have remains.

Poem with an explanation: disillusionment

The commercial said
use the machine
 just a few minutes
 just a few days
 just a few weeks
and everything
yes everything
would change.

six months later
and who knows how many hours
and unfortunately,
the after photo
looks like the before.


In this poem a person is disillusioned with a piece of exercise equipment.

In the first stanza, they mention the claim of the commercial for the equipment.  They talk about how the commercial claimed that a small amount of effort (the repeat of the word just) could lead to a large change in their life (the emphasis on everything).

In the second stanza, after a large amount of effort (months and hours instead of minutes and days), the person has seen little change (their after photo looks like their before photo, unlike in the commercial where the after photo looked dramatically different from the before photo).  This is what causes their disillusionment.

Poem with an explanation: How is the sky?

They sky is cloudy,
there in the east,
see the darkness,
the weather is bad.

The sky is clear,
there in the west,
see the light,
the weather is good.


This poem is about presenting a point of view.  In the poem, there are two people.  One person says the first stanza and the other person says the second.

In the poem, both people are telling the truth, but they are each giving only one view of it and are therefore distorting the truth.  The first person wants those listening to think the weather is bad.  The second person, wants people to think the weather is good.

The idea in this poem applies to many arguments.  In arguments, people sometimes have a tendency to present a view of the truth that supports their position, while ignoring views that don’t.

Poem with an explanation: waiting for one

waiting for one
the oranges hide
from the thought of expression


This poem is about jack-o-lanterns on Halloween.

In the poem, pumpkins (oranges) are hiding.  They don’t want to be turned into jack-o-lanterns (the thought of expression – jack-o-lanterns have faces that express an emotion).  They are waiting until November first (waiting for one) at which point no one will want them for jack-o-lanterns anymore.

Although this poem focuses on a silly idea, the ideas could be applied to other situations.  Think, for example, of a person hoping a meeting or class or something else ends before they are called upon.  They are waiting for a time to pass so they won’t have to speak.  It could be they are nervous or afraid to do so.  The general idea is the same.

Poem with an explanation: Putting away the soapbox

They speak
you hear.

You speak
no one hears.

You bring out your soapbox
and some listen
though so much fewer
than the whole.

Some nod
some shake
nothing changes.

They speak
you hear.

You speak
no one hears.

You bring out your soapbox
and some listen
though so much fewer
than the whole.

Some nod
some shake
nothing changes.

The cycle repeats.

And then one day
you paddle your boat
down a new channel.

They speak
you hear.

You speak
no one hears.

The soapbox though
stays put away.

But then you wonder
of all the others
flowing along
the other channels.

The sky is blue
but they say green
and somewhere inside
it doesn’t make sense.

But soapboxes are heavy
and the channel is smooth
and so you stay

and calmly listen.


This poem is about watching political news.

In the poem, a person starts by watching political news they disagree with (They speak/ you hear).

The person feels a sense of disagreement.  They believe that what they are hearing is wrong.  Though no one is listening, they say why it is wrong. (You speak/ no one hears.)  This line also relates to the reach of the media contrasted with the reach of a single person.  The person hears the media, but no one hears the person.

The person wants to express their view to others and correct the information they see as wrong in the news.  They go online on social media (You bring out your soapbox).  As referenced above, they reach a far smaller audience than the media (and some listen/ though so much fewer/ than the whole.)

When they express their view, some people agree (Some nod), some disagree (some shake), but they cause no change in either group (nothing changes).

The next four stanzas repeat the first four.  This is to emphasize the idea that the person keeps going through this.  They watch news they disagree with, they go online to say why they disagree, supporters agree with them, other people oppose, and they cause no change.  This notion is said more explicitly in the following stanza (The cycle repeats.)

The person gets tired of the cycle and so they change the channel (And then one day/ you paddle your boat/ down a new channel).  They find a news channel they agree with.

At first things are the same.  The media has a reach greater than the person (They speak/ you hear.  You speak/ no one hears.)

Since the person agrees though, they don’t feel the need to express their ideas (The soapbox though/ stays put away.)

The person then starts to wonder though (But then you wonder).  They think about all the people watching news that they believe is biased and inaccurate (of all the others/ flowing along/ the other channels).

The sense of how inaccurate the information is, is expressed in the first two lines of the next stanza (The sky is blue/ but they say green).  The person struggles with the idea that first, in their view biased information is being spread to so many, second, that so many people don’t see the information as biased, and third, that there isn’t much the person can do about it.  This doesn’t make sense to the person.

The person at first feels like they want to correct the information they see and speak up about it.  This becomes tiring though (But soapboxes are heavy).  They find the new news they are watching agreeable (and the channel is smooth), and so they stop watching the other news they disagree with (and so you stay) and they feel calm (and calmly listen).

The poem expresses the idea that listening to news that a person disagrees with can be a tiring experience.  It can feel tiring for a person to want to correct much of what they hear and it can feel bad for a person to think about the biased information being disseminated and others not seeing it as biased.  Because of this, some people simply stick to news they agree with.  It can be a calmer more comfortable experience.

Poem with an explanation: It sneaks up on you

It sneaks up on you,
you don’t really feel it.

it’s subtle.
Just a slight aberration,
nothing to really note.

there’s a slight tick,
and all of sudden,
it becomes real.

Still though,
it’s only small,
nothing to be worried about,
not really a concern.

Then though,
it becomes normal.

Five more.

It becomes normal.
Your way of speaking changes.
Your name changes.

Then though,
there are lights.

It’s only a day,
or two,
or maybe a week.

But it’s special.
There are lights.

And so,
and birds,
and the smell of smoke.

It adds.

Now ten.

So there’s a panic.

How did this happen?


So you try.
Run around the ellipse.
You do something,
that to a casual observer,
would seem very pointless.

Still though,
it creeps.

You compensate.
Five out,
ten in.

You compensate.
Run now.
Sit later.

It creeps.

Time passes.
Cycles pass.

One day though,
something changes.

You buy new pants.

The end?



This poem is about the process of gaining unwanted weight.

The first stanza states an idea about gaining unwanted weight – It sneaks up on you, you don’t really feel it.  For some people who have gained weight, this is true.  It happened slowly.  It was subtle.  The poem describes the process.

The second stanza, talks about gaining the first two pounds.  It talks about seeing it on the scale but not really noticing it.

The third stanza, talks about the point when five pounds are gained.  Five pounds is enough that a person doesn’t think that maybe it’s just an aberration.  Five pounds, as the stanza relates, is real.

The fourth stanza though, says that this five pounds isn’t really something to be concerned about.  It express the idea that “It’s only five pounds.”

The fifth stanza expresses a change in thinking.  The gained weight stops being “gained”.  It simply become weight.  It becomes part of you.  It stops being something extra.

This notion that the five pounds stops being five “extra” pounds is related in the seventh stanza.  It relates the idea that a person starts talking about themselves differently.  Instead of saying, for example, that they weigh 135 lbs.  They now say 140 lbs.  It becomes part of how they reference themselves.  Their identity changes.

The eighth stanza talks about holidays, birthdays, and special events.  It refers to them as “lights”.  It makes reference to them as a time when a person doesn’t watch what they eat.

The ninth stanza minimizes the extra food eaten.  It refers to it as being for only a short time.

The tenth stanza continues this idea.  It sort of expresses the protest, “But it’s a special time.”  It justifies the extra eating.

The eleventh stanza talks about extra holiday eating.  It talks about cakes with flower designs (flowers), turkey (birds), like might be had at Thanksgiving, and the smell of smoke, making reference to cookouts.

The twelfth stanza talks about this extra eating adding up.

The thirteenth stanza says that now ten pounds have been gained.

In fourteenth stanza, this ten pounds causes a panic.

The fifteenth stanza questions how the weight gain happened.

The sixteenth stanza expresses an idea of disbelief.

In the seventeenth stanza, there is the idea of exercising to lose weight.  It talks about running on an elliptical machine (Run around the ellipse) and lifting weights (something, that to a casual observer, would seem very pointless – this references the idea that a person lifting weights moves lots of weight, but without an observable result – they aren’t loading a truck or something.  They are just picking heavy weights up and putting them back down.  Nothing seems accomplished.)

The eighteenth stanza says that this is not enough.

The nineteenth stanza talks about a person compensating for the exercise.  The person loses calories by exercising (Five out), but they eat more because the exercise makes them hungry and because they think they can eat more because they exercised (ten in).

The twentieth stanza extends this idea.  It says that a person compensates for exercise by being more sedentary at other times.

The twenty first stanza talks about the weight gain rising to fifteen pounds.

The twenty second stanza talks about the cycle described above continuing as a person gains more weight.

In the twenty third stanza, something changes.

The twenty fourth stanza says what this change is – You buy new pants.  The idea here is to express the notion that the weight gain has been fully accepted.  It is something that is permanent.  You buy new pants.

The twenty fifth stanza asks a question – is this acceptance the end?  Is the weight gain really permanent?  Is this new weight the new norm?

The poem doesn’t answer the question.  It leaves it open ended.

The idea of this poem is to express the process were a person gains unwanted weight.  It isn’t meant to criticize a person who goes through this process, rather it just describes the process.  The poem isn’t meant to ask, as the narration in part of the poem does, “How did this happen?”, but it rather simply describes how it can happen.  The idea is to shine a light on something that is often unnoticed as it happens.  The idea is to make something subtle for a person, be less so.

Poem with an explanation: know the truth that it is day

twenty past three
and it was getting late
the force of the wind
was blowing strong

in the night
the monsters roamed
and in the light
the drums did beat

and so in the day
the steps were taken
to the woods
and back again

and days and days
did move on by
and by the fields
the hills were climbed

and then one day
it was two

and birds did sing
and butterflies flew
and flowers bloomed
beneath the sun

but in the caves
the ogres watched
and said their words
of vileness

and rain did fall
on butterflies
and clouds did cover
all the fields

but listen you
who walk the paths
the words of ogres
are not the end

walk the fields
and climb the hills
and look beyond
toward the sun

know the truth
that it is day


This poem is about a person losing weight, but rather than their accomplishment being applauded, they are looked down upon.

In the poem, a person starts off weighing 320 lbs.  This is referenced as a time (twenty past three).  The time reference is continued with the idea of getting late.  This refers to the idea that the person’s health is poor, and if steps aren’t taken, they might not live as long as they could.

The person finds themselves short of breath.  This feeling makes them worry.  This is related in the lines the force of the wind/was blowing strong.  The word force also relates to the fact that weight is a measure of force.

The person has this experience and it keeps them up at night (in the night/the monsters roamed).  They are worried that because of their weight, they might die.  The next day (and in the light) they are so worried that they can feel their heart beating inside of themselves (the drums did beat).

The person decides to make a change (and so in the day/the steps were taken).  The person starts walking (the steps were taken).  In the beginning, they can’t go very far and simply walk from one door of their house to another (to the woods/and back again).

The person keeps walking (and days and days/did move on by).  As they do, they find they are able to go farther and they leave their house (and by the fields/the hills were climbed).

The person keeps walking, and then one day, they fall below three hundred pounds (it was two).  It was two ties back into the idea of time from before.

The person is very happy (and birds did sing/and butterflies flew/and flowers bloomed/beneath the sun).

This happiness though isn’t shared by others.  The family of the person puts down their accomplishment.  They say the person is still overweight.  They say that being less than three hundred pounds isn’t an accomplishment.  They say the person hasn’t done anything.  They criticize the person and call them names (but in the caves/the ogres watched/and said their words/of vileness).

The person is saddened by this (and rain did fall/on butterflies/and clouds did cover/all the fields).

In the poem though, someone else speaks.  They talk to the person (but listen you/who walk the paths).  They tell the person that the words of their family aren’t what is important (the words of ogres/are not the end).

They encourage the person to keep on working (walk the fields/and climb the hills).  They tell them to look past the negative comments (and look beyond) and see the accomplishment they have made and where they are going (toward the sun).

They tell the person that the words of their family are lies (know the truth), and that the reality is they have done an amazing thing (that it is day).

This poem relates to something that happens in life.  A person can accomplish something that makes them feel good, but if that accomplish doesn’t meet the expectations of others, the person might be criticized for achieving so little in the eyes of others.  The poem express the idea that this is wrong and that people should feel good about their accomplishments, even if they have more to do.

Poem with an explanation: flying through the walk

sparrows fly each day
ten hours across the field
turtles look and walk


This poem is about ease and difficulty.

For some people, certain things are very easy.  They do them effortlessly.  For other people, those same certain things are hard.  With great difficulty they accomplish their goal.

In this poem, the sparrows do something easily.  The sparrows fly.  This is nothing to them and they do it each day.

The turtles though find traveling hard.  It takes them ten hours to cross a field.  This is contrasted with the speed and ease of the sparrows’ travel.  The turtles notice this and continue.  They accept their situation although it weighs upon them.

The idea of the poem is to show a human feeling with animals.  This situation can often come up in life.  A person can struggle to do something, and then see someone else do it effortlessly.  Seeing this, the person feels worse about their situation.  They feel their lack of ability is amplified.

This poem is a 5-7-5 haiku.  The second two lines go together.

Poem with an explanation: the scarecrow falls down

earthquake tremors start
rain falls on an autumn day
the scarecrow falls down


This poem is about a person with low blood sugar.  Their blood sugar has dropped dangerously low.

As this happens, the person starts to shake (earthquake tremors start) and they start to sweat (rain falls), even though they feel cool (on an autumn day).  Their condition worsens, and they collapse (the scarecrow falls down).

This poem is a 5-7-5 haiku.

Poem with an explanation: drought and rain

each day plant leaves wilt
soil turns from grains to stone
the monsoon arrives


This poem is about a common occurrence in people’s lives.  It describes a situation where first a person has nothing to do and then all of a sudden has too much to do.  It is about imbalance.

In the poem, the first two lines describe drought conditions.  The leaves are wilting from lack of water.  The soil is hardening under the bright sun.

These ideas are a metaphor for a person who to some degree is deteriorating because they have nothing to do.  An example of this might be a person who becomes unemployed.  As time goes on, it is possible the person’s condition might worsen.  They might change their sleep habits, their hygiene habits, and their daily routine.  They might do less and less as there seems to be nothing to do.  They might lose their motivation.

The last line of the poem describes a sudden overwhelming change.  In the poem the conditions change from a drought to a monsoon.  The monsoon will be long lasting.  The monsoon will cause flooding.  The monsoon will overwhelm.

This idea is a metaphor for a person all of a sudden having too much to do.  Using the example of the unemployed person, an example situation might be the person all of a sudden getting three part-time jobs.  The person instantly becomes busy.  They have a hard time juggling things.  They have a hard time keeping track of things.

These ideas describe imbalance.  Continuing the example, had the person had two part-time jobs or one full time job the entire time, they would have been in a state of balance.  They wouldn’t have had too little to do or too much.  They wouldn’t have experienced any sudden change.

This poem is a haiku.  It is written in the 5-7-5 style.  The first two lines describe one situation and the last line describes a change in the situation.  It uses nature as a metaphor for a human experience.