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
from companies
on a phone
a movie reserved
on a service
earlier that day
a walk in the park

sitting down



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.

Poetry topic idea: paper

Today’s poetry topic idea is paper.  When writing about paper, a poet could write about things like: letters, origami, writing, drawing, paper airplanes, notes, lists, tearing paper, forms, books, wallpaper, toilet paper, and newspapers.

Here is an example poem using the idea of paper:

an old western
where a man scribbled a will
leaving his saddle and gear
to the man who found him
before he died
because there was
no one else

A photograph to inspire poetry: wallflowers


Above is a photograph of flowers in front of a wall, or wallflowers.  Wallflowers can be an interesting poetry topic.  A poet could write about: parties, mingling, shyness, introversion, extroversion, talking, dancing, and other ideas.  A poet could explore the concept of being a wallflower and what it means, how it is perceived, and how they believe it should be perceived.

Here is an example poem using the idea of wallflowers:

sitting there
by the wall
looking out
with self-conscious eyes

P. S. There will not be a new blog post on M. Sakran’s blog tomorrow, January 7, 2020. The next new blog post will be on Wednesday January 8, 2020.

A photograph to inspire poetry: a black and red insect on a citrus leaf

a black and red insect on a citrus leaf

Above is a photograph of a black and red insect on a citrus leaf.  It can inspire poetry.  A poet could write about:

  • Predators and prey. This insect may be hunting something.  Presumably, something could be hunting it.  A poet could write about this relationship.

  • Uniforms. The insect is black and red.  A poet could write about a group with black and red uniforms.  They could create a story around the idea and have it in a poem.

  • Size. This insect is very small.  It is about the size of a pencil tip.  A poet could write about size and things that are very small.

Here is a poem inspired by the photograph:

In his black and red uniform,
he came on to the rugby field.

Alone he stood,
just with his shadow,
and saw all those,
who would soon play.

Alone he stood,
in the silence,
and heard the sounds,
of the game.

Poem with an explanation: the darkness of irrationality

The darkness of irrationality,
in the twilight of sensibility,
the sounds and glimpses,
transform and grow,
and there in the shadows,
where the metal turns,
translucent forms,
hide in the fog.


This poem is about someone being afraid.  They are home alone, at night, and a sense of fear comes over them.

The first line, The darkness of irrationality, shows that the person’s fear isn’t founded on anything specific.  They have a fear that there is someone outside their home who wants to come inside and do them harm.  The person though, isn’t afraid of someone they know, or someone nearby, or something they heard in the news.  They are simply afraid.  They have a fear of what might or could be.

The second line, in the twilight of sensibility, is meant to contrast with the first.  While the person’s general fear is irrational, the idea of their fear isn’t.  There could be someone outside.  There is the real possibility of a home invasion or some other kind of harm.  There is a sense of sensibility in the person being aware and cautious of the possibility.  The person though, goes to the level of irrationality in the sense that they are continuously afraid of the idea.

The first line and the second line are meant to show a contrast through their form.  Both lines are ten syllables long.  The first line has darkness, while the second has twilight.  The first line has irrationality, while the second has sensibility.  The equal lengths paired with the opposite words shows the contrast of the ideas.

The third line, the sounds and glimpses, describes the audial and visual things that increase the person’s fear.  The person hears many noises.  Their heater makes a noise.  Their refrigerator makes a noise.  The house creaks.  They also see things like reflections or things out of the corner of their eye.  These things are interpreted by the person as signs of what they fear.  They believe each noise is someone outside and each sight might be someone inside.

The fourth line, transform and grow, refers to the sounds and glimpses of the third line.  As the person grows more afraid, the idea of what could be causing the sounds and glimpses grows.  The person becomes more afraid with each instance.

The fifth and sixth lines, and there in the shadows, where the metal turns, describes the unseen places of the person’s house.  They imagine that there is someone outside of these places trying to get in.  This “getting in” is described as a lock turning or, where the metal turns.  They have the horror movie image of a lock slowly turning, in their mind.

The eighth line, translucent forms, describes who the person is afraid of.  It is a vague image of a person.  It is what they imagine an intruder would look like.  It is a composite of criminal images they have seen.  The image is vague and not defined because the person is afraid of an idea more than of an actual person.  The vagueness is shown through the idea of the forms being translucent.

The last line, hide in the fog, shows that, partially, the person is afraid of the unknown.  They are afraid of what they can’t see outside.  Also, it shows the confusion of their fear.

This poem is about a person afraid alone at night in their house.  The idea of it is to describe, in some sense, the haziness of the person’s fear.  The person is afraid, but their fear, in some sense, isn’t based on anything substantial.  The person is mainly afraid of the possibility of something.  They, in some sense, want to be on guard for it.

The poem isn’t meant to criticize the person for their fear.  Describing the fear as irrational isn’t meant to imply that the person is.  The idea of the poem is meant to describe how an irrational fear can grow, even in a rational person, under certain conditions.

P. S. Do you like poems with explanations? Did you know that M. Sakran has an eBook of them?  It is true.  You can learn more about the eBook and purchase a copy from here: Understanding: poems with explanations.

Post Series: Poems with Explanations: Waiting in darkness

covered in darkness
sitting between the two walls
waiting for the noise
walking down the concrete rows
mind lost in all the boxes


This poem about is about a child and her mother.  The mother of the child works two jobs, one of which is a second shift.  The child is left home alone during this shift.

In the poem, the first three lines are about the child and the last two lines are about the mother.  This poem is a tanka, written in 5 7 5 7 7, and this form lent itself to the two subjects of the poem.

The poem starts (covered in darkness) with the child home alone at night.  The child is scared.  The fear the child has is conveyed by the idea of darkness covering.

The child doesn’t sleep because she is afraid.  Instead, she stays awake and sits on the floor in the corner of her room (sitting between the two walls).  She is sitting in her pajamas, with her knees up, her arms around her legs, and her head down.

In her fear, the child is waiting to hear the noise of her mother opening the front door (waiting for the noise).  She has stayed up before and knows what the sound of the key turning the lock sounds like.  She is anticipating the noise.  She wants it to happen.  When her mother comes home, she will feel comfort and be able to sleep.

The next two lines of the poem are about the mother.  She works in a warehouse.  There are rows and rows of shelves with bays.  The bays are filled with boxes.  The floor is concrete.  The mom walks down the rows (walking down the concrete rows) loading things onto a cart to be sent somewhere else.

The mom’s job is demoralizing.  It is dark, everything is gray and brown.  There is a certain sound to the place.  The job is tedious and monotonous.  As the mom does her job, she just passes the time and turns her mind off (mind lost in all the boxes).

One interesting aspect of this poem, is the idea that it does not come to a conclusion.  The poem shows the daughter sitting in her room afraid and the mother at work.  In the poem, the mother is never showed coming home.  The daughter’s fear is never relieved.  This poem looks at a specific moment that recurs, but does not, in some sense, finish the moment.


Do you like poems with explanations?

M. Sakran’s self-published book of poems with explanations called Understanding: poems with explanations is available for purchase as an eBook for an available price of $0.99. Buy your copy today!

To help celebrate the self-publication of this book, there is a post series of poems with explanations on the blog.  Above is a poem with an explanation for the series.  This poem with an explanation (as well as the rest in the series) is not from the book.  It is a different one that is part of this post series for readers to read and enjoy.

Post Series: Poems with Explanations: Alone


Was it a cigarette?
Was it a campfire?
Was it lightening?

There was the spark,
in the trees,
far away.

  No one was there.

The shingles caught,
at first a smolder,
then the flame.

  No one was there.

Smoke in the attic,
rafters buckle,
and with some time,
the ceiling caves.

  An alarm sounds,
  no one hears.

The smoke in the living room,
windows shatter,
furniture burns,
and all crumbles.

  There are eyes,
  but looking away.

Four walls,
three walls,
two and one,
the pile is there,
and all is gone.

  No one was there.


This poem is about a person becoming progressively more ill.  The person is alone and has no one to help them.  It uses a house fire as a metaphor.  This poem examines the idea of an isolated person encountering something where they need help.

The first stanza examines the cause of the illness.  It basically questions whether it started from something small (a cigarette), something medium (a campfire) or something large (lightening).  The questions are not answered in the poem.

The next stanza describes the start of the illness.  It starts small (spark) and unnoticed (unseen) (far away).  As a note, the fact that the illness started small is not meant to imply that it started from something small.  The idea is that even something big (such as a fire caused by lightening) still in essence starts with one point.

The third stanza (No one was there) is the first mention that the person is alone.

The next stanza uses a house as a metaphor for the person.  The stanza says, The shingles caught, at first a smolder, then the flame.  This describes the person first feeling the illness.  At first it is subtle (a smolder), but then it is more (the flame).  This stanza could be looked at as describing a person feeling the start of a fever (shingles representing the person’s head and a smolder and flame representing the heat of the fever).

The fifth stanza is a repeat of the third.  It shows that as the person got more ill, they were still alone.

The sixth stanza continues the progression of the illness.  The fire spreading in the attic could be looked at as representing the symptoms of the illness spreading in the person’s head.  By the end of the stanza, they feel it in their throat.  This is one way of describing the spread of the illness (which continues the way of description from stanza four) but other similar notions of the symptoms of an illness spreading could be applied.

The seventh stanza is like the third and the fifth, in that it shows that no one is with the person.  This stanza uses a somewhat different expression though.  It uses the metaphor of an unheard fire alarm to describe the person calling for help, but getting no response.

The eighth stanza continues the progression of illness symptoms.  One way to look at it, would be to say that the person started feeling something in their lungs (The smoke in the living room), their eyes began to hurt (windows shatter), they felt pain at different parts of their body (furniture burns) and they were overwhelmed by the symptoms (and all crumbles)

The next stanza is like the previous indented ones, in that it expresses the idea that the person is alone.  The stanza expresses the idea that there are people (There are eyes) and these people are observant and aware (looking) but they are just not aware of the person that is ill (but looking away).

One important point about this poem, is that people are not actively ignoring the ill person in the poem.  The person in the poem is isolated either by circumstance or by their own doing.  It is not though, a matter of neglect.  People are not willfully not helping the person, they are simply unaware the person needs help.

The tenth stanza describes the person getting severely more ill (as described by the walls of the house collapsing).  The person is very weak (the pile is there) and eventually, the person dies (and all is gone).

The last stanza is a repeat of the third and fifth.  It say, that the person died alone.

In terms of form, this poem is free verse in the sense that there was not a predefined from applied to it, nor a strict structure applied while it was written.  Despite this though, the poem is not entirely free of structure and still has form elements in it.

The first stanza consists entirely of questions.  Each question starts with Was it.  Additionally, the first two stanzas, start with Was it a, and then a word that starts with the letter c.

The second stanza starts with a line that is relatively longer in appearance than the other three lines in the stanza.  The first line says something, and the next three describe it.  The three short lines are meant to be choppy in a sense so that each point about the spark is made.

The third stanza, is repeated in the fifth stanza, and again repeated in the last stanza.  These stanzas are all indented to show a separation from the other ideas of the poem.

In the tenth stanza, the first two lines are similar.  They show the progression of the house falling in.  The third line breaks the form pattern (it does not continue two walls, one wall).  The idea of the break was to speed up the collapse of the house (and therefore the deterioration of the person).


M. Sakran’s self-published book of poems with explanations called Understanding: poems with explanations is available for purchase as an eBook for an available price of $0.99. Buy your copy today!

To help celebrate the self-publication of this book, there is a post series of poems with explanations on the blog.  Above is a poem with an explanation for the series.  This poem with an explanation (as well as the rest in the series) is not from the book.  It is a different one that is part of this post series for readers to read and enjoy.

Shadow Commemoration Day Twelve

As the rain falls,
and waters rise,
there’s thoughts of Shadow,
poor Shadow,
in the ground,
with the water around him.

In the ground.

He needs help,
he needs comfort,
he need something,
the thought is hard,
these words are hard,
but there is poor Shadow,

There’s sadness,
in these words,
there’s a sense,
that can’t be expressed,
there’s a fog,
between what this is like,
and what it may seem.

Poor Shadow.