Poem with an explanation: The Plight of the Orange Spheres

behind the glass
nothing felt safe
the lion roared

 

This poem has three layers.

The first layer is just the poem itself and what it literally says.  In the poem, someone or some group is behind glass and they don’t feel safe from a lion.

The second layer, describes the literal situation more fully.  In the poem there are goldfish (orange spheres) that are in an aquarium.  They are afraid of a cat (lion) that is outside and wants to get them.

The third layer, relates to the coronavirus.  People are in their homes (behind glass), but don’t feel safe (nothing felt safe), from the virus (the lion).

The idea of the poem was to present three ideas with the same concept.

Poem with an explanation: one day they drove away

One day
they drove away
and someone said
how the future would be.

And despite the rationality
and even the equity
a harsh word was spoken
that there was no understanding.

And there in the back
as they drove away
the injustice held
a weight of bitterness.

And there in the front
as they drove away
they rationalized
and hoped that it would not be.

 

In this poem a family takes an older family member to a nursing home to live.  In the situation, a child in the car is upset that this has happened.

In the first stanza, the family is driving away from the nursing home after dropping the older family member off.  The child in the car thinks this is wrong and says to their parents that if taking grandma/grandpa to a nursing home is right, then one day they will take their parents to one.  They make the statement that what their parents have done will be done to them.  They do this to motivate their parents not to leave the older family member at the nursing home.

In the second stanza, the parents feel a sense of rationality and even equity in what their child was saying.  It does seem just to them that what they have done, should be done to them, at least on an intellectual level.

In a practical sense though, they don’t feel this should be.  They don’t see a connection between their treatment of the older family member and how they should be treated someday.  They get upset with their child, and speak harshly to them, and they say the child does not understand the situation.

In the third stanza, the child is bitter.  They feel that what their parents are doing is unjust.  They become bitter, and resolve that someday they will put their parents in a nursing home, as a means, in their rationality, to teach them a lesson.

In the fourth stanza, the parents rationalize their decision to take the older family member to the nursing home.  They run through reasons why “it is the best thing”.  As they do though, they hope the future the child promises will not take place.  They hope that they themselves will not be put in a nursing home someday.

This poem looks at the idea of justice in the sense of examining the idea of “what you have done to another, will be done to you”.  It looks at this from the perspective of the people who are doing the thing, and from the perspective of the person who will one day be in their place.  The poem in some sense looks at questioning current behavior under the thought of this idea coming to pass.

Poem with an explanation: Maybe it’s broken?

Checking the email
for the fourteenth time

nothing’s bold.

Maybe it’s broken?

 

This poem is about a person waiting for a message.  They are checking their email repeatedly (so far, fourteen times in one day), but have not received a message they are waiting for.  More than this, the person hasn’t received any messages (nothing’s bold – new messages are bold in their email).

The person is anxious to get this message and the fact that they haven’t received it causes them to wonder if something’s wrong.  They question if their email is broken.

The person is worried and anxious and tries to find an explanation for the situation, which actually causes them more worry.

Poem with an explanation: happy birthday

A store bought cake
with two wax numbers
a rotisserie chicken
with two tubs of sides
a banner on the wall
held with clear tape
a card
with no handwriting
a dog sitting
by the table
a can of corned beef
and a bowl
a parakeet nibbling
on a treat
in a moved cage
a box
wrapped with less reason
emails
from companies
on a phone
a movie reserved
on a service
earlier that day
a walk in the park

sitting down
thinking

alone

 

In this poem, a person is celebrating their birthday.  The person is alone and lonely and tries to compensate.

The person buys themselves a cake, and has two number candles for their age.  From the store they also bought chicken and sides so they could have a special dinner.

The put a banner on a wall that says, “Happy Birthday”.  They held it with clear tape so they could take it down easily.

They bought themselves a card, but wrote nothing in it.  They worry that someone, someday, might find the card, and they don’t want to look like they gave themselves a birthday card.

For friends, the person has a dog and a parakeet.  The dog is by the table and the person got the dog corned beef as food so the dog could celebrate with the person.

They gave their parakeet a treat for the same reason, and moved the parakeet cage by the table they are at so they could feel like there was someone else with them.

The person bought themselves a present and put it in a box.  They wrapped it for the occasion, but not to hide the contents (as they know what it is), a reason wrapping is normally applied.

The only well wishes the person got are from companies they do business with that sent them birthday emails.  They read them on their phone and appreciated some sense of the well wishes.

The person has saved a movie on a streaming service to watch that night for something special on their birthday.  That day, they walked in the park as an outing.  The park was a place the person felt comfortable going alone.

As the person sits down to celebrate their birthday, they think about their life and how they go to this point.

The person feels alone.

 

This poem is about loneliness.  The idea was expressed by showing a person who had no one to celebrate their birthday with them.  The steps the person takes to have a nice birthday, despite being alone, to some degree make them feel lonelier.

Poem with an explanation: of thinking of the future

There was the earth
and the wood
and words
and tears

and standing there,
there was a moment
of thinking of
the future.

 

This poem is about death, mourning, and being alone.  In the poem, a person’s pet has died.  In the process of mourning the person buries their pet (There was the earth), they put a marker at the grave (and the wood), they say some words over their pet’s grave (and words) and they feel sad and cry (and tears).  As this happens (and standing there), the person has a moment of realization (there was a moment).  They wonder who will take care of them and feel sadness for them when they die (of thinking of the future).  The person in the poem is alone and they don’t have anyone like their pet had.

Poem with an explanation: the carburetor

the engine ran
the gas started to spray
a leak from somewhere
was causing this

things were examined
and cleaned through
and it seemed as though
it was the carburetor

at first
a gasket was changed
for this seemed logical
and was cheap and easy

the gas knob was turned
and slowly it dripped
gasoline
from the carburetor

a search was made
for one that matched
from a model number
and more details

one was found
and with free shipping
it arrived
the next day

it wasn’t as easy
as the video showed
but a change was made
of the vital part

with a slight hush
the knob was turned
no gas dripped
nothing seemed wrong

the engine was run
for only a moment
it all looked right
but the smell was off

was it fixed?
was the question
it seemed all right
but who knew

the next storm
would tell

 

This poem is about an organ transplant.  It uses the metaphor of changing a carburetor on a generator engine to describe the ideas.

The first stanza describes the start of the problem.  A person experiences symptoms while they are doing something.  They realize it is serious and that there is a problem.

The second stanza describes the diagnosis.  In this case, a particular organ had a problem.

In the third stanza, something short of a transplant was tried.  This is described as the gasket was changed on the part instead of the part.

In the fourth stanza, a test was done after the procedure, but the problem remained.

In the fifth stanza, a search for an organ match was made.  It was difficult.

In the sixth stanza, the organ arrives.

In the seventh stanza, the recipient of the organ had seen a video of the surgery for the transplant.  They find out that the actual experience was much different than the video portrayed.

In the eighth stanza, tests are done on the person and they seem all right.

In the ninth stanza, the person recovers.  They seem all right but they feel different.

In the tenth stanza, the person questions if they are really better.

In the eleventh stanza, the person thinks that they will know if they are better the next time they experience something that tries them physically.

The idea of this poem was to use a mechanical thing as a metaphor for a physical thing in a person.

Poem with an explanation: another week begins

There was something you required,
and that,
that was given.

But you,
you did not keep,
your side of the bargain.

And now,
now you ask for more?

And now,
now you make the same claim?

Somehow,
it doesn’t seem right.

Somehow,
throwing good,
after bad,
just doesn’t seem wise.

But there’s,
there’s the writing.

But there’s,
there’s the voices.

But there’s,
there’s the logic.

Another week begins,
and something is required …

the first step is taken.

 

This poem is about a person who is unsuccessfully trying to lose weight.  In the poem, they are arguing with the weight loss method they chose.

The person has tried a method to lose weight, in this case exercise, but when they weighed themselves, they didn’t lose weight.  Now they question the method, and the overall effort in general.

In the first stanza, the person says that they put in the effort.

In the second stanza, the person criticizes the weight loss method.  In their view, they did something, and so they expected something in return.  Since this did not happen, they feel cheated.

In the third stanza, the person is going to start a new week.  They are contemplating whether they should continue with their efforts.  They wonder this considering that their previous efforts did not work.

In the fourth stanza, the person questions their method.  They wonder how what did not work before is expected to work this time.

In the fifth stanza, the person doesn’t believe trying what they did before will work.

In the sixth stanza, they reiterate this idea.

In the seventh, eighth, and ninth stanzas, they think of evidence supporting them exercising.  They think of things they’ve read, what people have told them, and the logic of exercise.

In the tenth stanza, the week begins, and the person hesitates before exercising.

In the eleventh stanza, the person doesn’t see an alternative, and they exercise again.

The idea of this poem is to look at the path that trying to lose weight can take.  A person can try something, and have it not work, and wonder whether they should keep at it.

Poem with an explanation: steps

walking in circles
around the driveway
neighbors watch
and don’t understand

counting the circles
doing the math
letting the mind wander
as the steps continue

at times
it feels pointless
many journeys
to a beginning

at times
when there is less
and then less
and then less
and then less
there’s a point

 

This poem is about a person walking to lose weight.  The person has a pedometer and is counting their steps each day to reach a daily goal so they can lose weight.

In the first stanza, the person walks repeatedly around their driveway in a loop.  This seems odd to their neighbors.

In the second stanza, the person tries to take their mind off what they are doing, to help it go faster, all the while realizing that as they are trying not to think about it, they are continuing to walk.

In the third stanza, the person does feel strange doing all this walking without some sort of tangible result.  They are not walking for work for example or to reach a location.

In the fourth stanza, as the person continues to lose weight they understand the point of what they are doing.

Post Series: Advent: Poem with an explanation: they kept the day

the pillows changed
from brown to red
the throw from yellow to green

the plants were changed
for evergreens
with berries that could be seen

a chicken cooked
with leaves of sage
and potatoes in a pot

a pie was baked
with orange yams
just the way they had been taught

a drill was bought
a sweater too
both placed within birthday bags

a truck with wheels
a brand new doll
in blue boxes with no tags

the day did come
and none did leave
no words outside were spoken

they kept the day
beneath the lights
so faith would not be broken

 

This poem is about celebrating Christmas in an oppressive society.  The society has rejected Christmas and its observance.  People who observe Christmas are ostracized.  In the poem, a family celebrates Christmas in a hidden way.

The poem sounds nice.  It seems to show a celebration.  In each stanza though, an element of the hidden nature of the celebration is shown.

In the first stanza, the family can’t decorate for Christmas with traditional decorations.  Instead, they change the throw pillows on their sofa from brown to red and change the throw on their sofa from yellow to green.

In the second stanza, the family is afraid to put up a Christmas tree.  Instead they change out their house plants for evergreens with berries.

Rather than cooking a turkey or a ham on Christmas, the family cooks chicken in the third stanza.  They flavor it with sage to get a sense of the traditional taste.  They are fearful of having a big meal, and only cook potatoes as a side.

In the fourth stanza, rather than making a traditional pumpkin pie, the family makes one with yams.  As the oppression has being going on for some time, the recipe is one they had been taught.

In the fifth stanza, the adults buy gifts for one another.  They only buy one each and put them in birthday bags rather than wrapping them with Christmas paper.

In the sixth stanza, the children are bought presents.  Again they get only one each, and they are put in boxes that are blue, which isn’t a Christmas color.

In the seventh stanza, Christmas day comes.  The family does not leave their house to visit relatives or to go to a church service.  When they do see someone they don’t say merry Christmas (no words outside were spoken).

In the eighth stanza, a summary is given of the family’s activities.  They kept the day beneath the lights of oppressive scrutiny in a hidden way so faith would not be broken.

Although modern society isn’t oppressive this way, there are signs of the secularization of Christmas.  Many ads for example reference “holidays” rather than “Christmas”.  The same occurs with company and organizational observances.  There is a “holiday party” rather than a “Christmas” one.

As any belief means something is not believed there will always be those who either disagree with the belief or who don’t feel the belief should be overtly expressed because others might disagree with it.  It is covering over a belief either because of secularization or political correctness.

The poem shows a society that takes this idea to a farther point.  Instead of covering over Christmas, the society feels it is bad.  As some disagree with the Christmas observance, the society has developed a culture of disdaining the observance.  It has gone from Christmas to “Holiday” to nothing to seeing the observance as something negative.  It sees the observance as bad and sees those who participate in the observance as bad as well.

The poem shows a family that tries to observe Christmas under these circumstances.  They try to observe it in a hidden way to keep the tradition but also not to face backlash.

In terms of form, the stanzas have a syllable count of 4-4-7.  The stanzas are in pairs with the last lines of each pair rhyming.

Post Series: Advent: Poem with an explanation: Christmas gift ideas

Are you having a difficult time thinking of Christmas gifts to buy for the people in your life?  The following poem can help.  It provides (in poem form) eleven categories of gifts that you can use to come up with ideas.  (After the poem, the gift categories are laid out more explicitly.  That is what makes this a poem with an explanation.)

The first gift,
is really as basic,
as the food you eat.

The second gift,
like the first,
is consumed,
but in a different way.

The third gift,
is the standard,
upon the person’s flag.

The fourth gift,
should be interesting.

The fifth gift,
eventful.

The sixth gift,
should express a sentiment.

The seventh gift,
follows money.

The eight gift,
fulfills a request.

The ninth gift,
requires action.

The tenth gift,
comes from the hands.

The eleventh gift,
takes things to a new level.

 

Each stanza above expresses a gift category that you can use to think of a gift to buy a person.

The first gift category is food.  Food makes an excellent gift because everyone eats and it is easy to get something gourmet or something in a fancy package that can make something simple be more like a gift.

The second gift is that of a consumable.  A consumable is something a person uses up.  This could be anything from office supplies to things for their pet.  The idea is to buy a person something they use up on a regular basis.

The third gift is a standard gift.  A standard gift can fit a gender or a profession.  As an example, some standard gifts for men might be: ties, shoes, suits, briefcases, tools, sports items, outdoor items, shaving items, cologne, car items, and grilling items.

The fourth gift is something related to an interest a person has.  For example, if a person likes golf, some gifts might be: golf balls, golf tees, golf clothes, golf gloves, golf bags, golf lessons, and golf clubs.

The fifth gift is an event.  Rather than giving a person a thing, you can give them an experience.  This could be something like tickets to a sporting event or paying for them to take a class.

The sixth gift is something sentimental.  This could be something personalized with the person’s name, something with an image important to the person, or something from the person’s past.

The seventh gift is to buy a person something they buy themselves.  The idea here is that if a person buys something, they like it.  If you buy them something similar, they might like it too.

The eighth gift is to buy a person something they asked for.  A person might have explicitly said they wanted something, or they may have mentioned it or an idea related to it in passing.

The ninth gift is to do something for a person.  This could be something like mowing their lawn or fixing something they have that is broken.

The tenth gift is to give the person something you make.  This could be anything from cookies, to a scarf, to furniture.

The eleventh gift is to upgrade something a person has.  You can buy a person a better version of something they already own.

These categories cover just something things you could buy a person as a Christmas gift.  There are of course more.  These are just a starting point that you can use if you have trouble thinking of what to buy a person.

As a side note, if you know someone who likes poetry, you might consider buying them M. Sakran’s published collection of poetry, First Try.  It contains poems on a variety of topics.  Someone who likes poetry could enjoy it. (It would also make M. Sakran quite happy if you gave someone the collection as a gift.)