Poem with an explanation: A dark celebration

There are celebrations,
celebrations on the mountain peak,
of the glowing warmth,
and dances in the wildflower fields.

But this is false,
for there behind the mountain peak,
the wings of dread do spread,
and the flight of darkness soars.

But in the fields,
all is joy,
as butterflies fly,
from bloom to bloom.

But the edges darken,
from red to black,
and the swallowing of all,
begins.

It all seems joy,
as arms twirl about,
and all the warm,
fills the land.

But tears do fall,
from knowing eyes,
for they do know,
the fire dims.

The cheers of joy,
for what is high,
not seeing that,
today it falls.

 

This poem is about the summer solstice.  It might depend on where a person lives, but the summer solstice could start late tonight.  Tomorrow, will be the longest day of the year, in terms of sunlight.

The longest day of the year is often celebrated because it has the most light of any day of the year.  This poem takes a different perspective and looks at it as a day of dread.

It is a day of dread, because from this point on, until the winter solstice, every day will get shorter.  Since this is the peak, it is the start of the fall.  This day is the last day when light grows, and because of this, the poem takes the perspective that it is a day to be feared, rather than celebrated.

The poem alternates between celebration and dread.  The first stanza is one of celebration.  It describes the celebration of the longest day (the mountain peak), of all the sunshine (the glowing warmth) and talks of the celebration of nature (dances in the wildflower fields).

The next stanza starts the dread.  It uses a metaphor of a dragon.  It says that the celebrating is for something false.  It says that after the longest day (behind the mountain peak), something ominous is coming (the wings of dread do spread) and this ominous thing is the increasing darkness from this point until the winter solstice (the flight of darkness soars).

In the next stanza, there is an unawareness of this.  It is as if the people celebrating in the field, don’t see the shadow rise behind the mountain.  The stanza talks of joy, butterflies and blooms.

The following stanza goes back to the ominous idea.  It uses the imagery of darkness swallowing all.  Like a cloud of darkness starting at the horizons and covering the land.  It uses the image of “red to black” to play off the idea of a sunset.

In the field though, there is an unawareness.  The celebrations continue as people bask in the sunshine and dance about.

This is contrasted in the next stanza by a sense of sadness by those that know that a peak leads to a fall.  It is as if all are celebrating the fire at its highest, but there are some that know that the highest point means that it gets lower after that.

The last stanza puts the ideas together and says that the peak is celebrated, but that is because it isn’t seen as the start of the fall.

This poem consists of seven stanzas.  Each stanza is four lines long.  The first six stanzas alternate between happiness and dread.  The last stanza has both ideas together.

P. S. Did you enjoy this poem with an explanation? Did you know that M. Sakran has a self-published eBook of poems with explanations?  You can learn more about the book 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.

A poem with an explanation: Illuminate the darkness

Poems are generally like art in that each viewer (or reader) can interpret the poem in different ways.  Often no explanation of the poem is provided by the poet.  While this is beneficial, it can also be beneficial to understand the poet’s perspective of a poem.

The following has two sections.  The first section has a poem with no explanation.  Please read the poem a few times to develop a personal perspective.  After the poem, an explanation is given. Please read the explanation to understand the poet’s intention.

The poem:

Illuminate the darkness

Darkness fills like a cloud that has no form.

At the point,
lights shine,

but in a way,
do not illuminate the darkness.

Nearby,
lights shine,

but in a way,
do not illuminate the darkness.

In the distance,
lights shine,

but in a way,
do not illuminate the darkness.

Closely,
a light shines,

and it,

illuminates the darkness.

The explanation:

This poem is a dual-level poem.  The first level is the literal level – what the poem is actually describing.  The second level is the metaphorical level – what the poem is conveying.  The poem is meant to be read at the second level.

The first level of this poem is a very simple idea: the Earth in space.  It references the Earth in space with the Sun, stars and planets.  In a literal sense, this is what the poem is describing.  The poem, however, is not meant to be read at this level.  In fact, reading the poem at this level, may make the poem seem less impactful.  This level though is used as a tool to implement the second level of the metaphor – in this case, a person overcoming a problem.  The idea of light illuminating darkness is the main metaphor used.  This is the level that the poem is meant to be read at.

Poem title: Illuminate the darkness

This title was chosen for three reasons.  First, it has an interesting symbolism.  The idea of illuminating darkness can be very symbolic, as well as literal.  Second, it has a “poetic” sound.  Having a certain sound in poems often makes an important difference.  Third, because of this poetic sound, the title was repeated in the poem.  In writing the poem, the repeat of the phrase in the poem inspired the title, rather than the title inspiring the repeat of the phrase.

First line: Darkness fills like a cloud that has no form.

The first line of the poem is set apart from the rest.  It is written as a single line.  This first line is meant to have a certain “darkness” of tone that is represented by the actual darkness being described.  In the literal sense, this line is describing the dark space that is around the Earth.  The darkness fills the space, but at the same time, has no form.  This line is in a sense describing the place.  In the metaphorical sense, this line introduces the problem that is being faced.  No specific problem is mentioned, but the problem is represented by darkness that fills.  It is meant to represent a significant problem.

From this point the four stanzas follow a similar four line form.  The first line describes a location.  Four locations are used: at the point, nearby, in the distance and closely.  The second line is the same for three of the stanzas: lights shine.  In the last stanza it reads “a light shines”.  The third line also takes two forms.  It reads “but in a way” in the first three stanzas and reads “and it” in the last stanza.

First stanza:

At the point,
lights shine,

but in a way,
do not illuminate the darkness.

In the first stanza the location is “at the point”.  In the literal sense, this “point” is the Earth itself.  In the metaphorical sense, this location is signifying the turning point in how a person is facing a problem.  It is a turning point, because up to this point the “darkness” of the problem was over the person and not illuminated.  This time period is described in this stanza and the next two.  In a literal sense, the first stanza could read:

On the Earth,
there are electrical lights,
but these lights,
do not diminish the darkness of space around Earth.

In a metaphorical sense, this first stanza is describing an internal type of help, something that the person realizes internally.  At first, it seems to provide some assistance, but it does not overcome the problem.

The first two lines of the stanza are set apart from the second two.  The first two lines provide a situation and some hope, but the second two lines, indented for separation and to cause a pause, are introduced with the word “but” and show that the hope did not solve the problem.

Second stanza:

Nearby,
lights shine,

but in a way,
do not illuminate the darkness.

In the second stanza, the literal meaning could be read:

The planets in the solar system,
give off light,
but this light,
does not diminish the darkness of space around Earth.

In this stanza, the metaphorical meaning to the location “nearby” is that since the person could not solve their problem with an internal discovery, they look “nearby” for help, or in some sense to help that is readily available.  Similarly though, this does not solve the problem.

Third stanza:

In the distance,
lights shine,

but in a way,
do not illuminate the darkness.

In the third stanza, the literal meaning could be read:

The stars,
give off light,
but this light,
does not diminish the darkness of space around Earth.

In this stanza, the metaphorical meaning to the location “in the distance” is that since the person could not find help to their problem by looking near to themselves, they take the opposite end and look far away.  Similarly though, this does not solve the problem.

These first three stanzas describe a time period up to the turning point the person will face.  Up until this point, the person has not found help to their problem.  All of these stanzas, in a literal sense, describe how the light of the lights on Earth, the stars and the planets are unable to illuminate the darkness of space that is around the Earth.

At first glance it may seem that the lights of the lights on Earth, the stars and the planets are unable to illuminate the darkness of space around Earth because they are insufficient.  This is not the case.  They are unable to illuminate the darkness that is around the Earth, not because of their weakness, but because of the strength of something else.

Fourth stanza:

Closely,
a light shines,

and it,

illuminates the darkness.

This stanza could be written literally as:

The Sun,
gives off light,
and it,
does diminish the darkness of space around Earth.

This final stanza is purposely kept with the preceding three.  The change is meant to be surprising.  The reader is not intended to expect it.

The location “closely” at first may seem strange to the reader.  Up until this stanza, the locations have been progressively getting farther away: at the point, then nearby, then in the distance.  This location may seem strange in that it is closer than “in the distance” but it is unclear whether it is closer than “nearby” or not.  This was done intentionally to symbolize that help to the problem was not in a place that was looked for.  It was close and in some sense overlooked.  In a literal sense, closely represents the Sun.  It is closer than the stars and some planets to Earth, but not as close as some other planets to the Earth.

The second line in the stanza is also an abrupt change.  The three preceding stanzas described “lights”.  This stanza describes “a light”.  The intention was to signify that there is something different about it.  In a literal sense, the Sun is one light, while the other lights are many lights.

The third line continues the change.  Rather than having the negative word “but” there is the positive word “and”.  Additionally, the preceding three third lines were vague with the phrase “in a way”.  The literal idea is that the lights have some effect on the darkness, but do not overtake it.  The line in this stanza is not vague: it says “and it”.  The literal idea is that the light of the Sun has a much larger impact than the other lights.

The last line of this stanza is indented more than any other line.  This is done so to signify its importance.  This line literally describes how the light of the Sun illuminates the darkness of space that is around the Earth.  Metaphorically, this line is on the other side of the turning point.  The person has found hope for their problem that will actually solve their problem.

 

This poem takes something literal: the Earth in space with various lights affecting the darkness around it, and uses it to describe something metaphorical, a person overcoming a problem.  The poem follows a path of the person failing to overcome their problem by trying different things, until they look in a new place and find hope to solve their problem.

This blog entry has been an example of a poem with an explanation.  Hopefully learning the poet’s intent of the poem has provided additional meaning to it.