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.