Poem with an explanation: Sitting down

Sitting down,
on the tomb like stone,
all is blurry,
in the singularity,
after a moment,
the summer solstice,
appearing in March,
a tornado,
from the hurricane,
to those in the stands,
it either makes sense,
or is foolishness,
but there,
on the tomb like stone,
all is blurry,
in the singularity.

Above is a poem.  Below is its explanation.  Before you read the explanation though, take a moment, and think about what you think the poem means.  Then, as you read the explanation, you can see how your interpretation of the poem compares with the intended meaning of the poem.

Did you think it meant something different?

Did you think it meant the same thing?

Were you surprised?

Was it what you expected?

If you find this exercise to be insightful in some way, the idea of comparing what you thought a poem meant compared to what the poet intended it to mean, you might consider writing a post for your blog about it.  You can link to this post if you want.  Please let M. Sakran know if you do, by using the Contact page.  Maybe you found some insight about how you read poems, or about the idea of intended meaning vs. interpreted meaning, or something else, that you thought might be good to share with your readers.  If so, consider sharing it with your readers.

If you like poems with explanations in general, you might consider purchasing a copy of M. Sakran’s self-published eBook, Understanding: poems with explanations, which contains twenty poems and explanations of those poems.

Here is the explanation of the poem:

This is a poem about a person whose pet has died in front of them.  The pet died of some illness.

The poem starts after the pet’s death.  The person is sitting down on the concrete (on the tomb like stone) beside their pet.  The concrete is tomb like because of the pet’s death.

The person is crying (all is blurry) and the moment they are having is intensely focused (in the singularity).  The person pauses (after a moment) and certain thoughts come to their mind.

The first idea is two expressions of the notion that death is completely expected, but still hits like a surprise.  Two metaphors for this are given.  The first is the summer solstice, appearing in March.  The summer solstice is a completely predictable event.  Even down to the minute for a given location.  Yet, in the poem, it comes early, at an unexpected time.  The summer solstice was used as a metaphor for death, because it is the longest day of the year.  Each day after that, until the winter solstice, gets darker and darker.  It is a metaphor for how the person feels.

The second metaphor shows the idea of something unpredictable, a tornado, from something predicable, a hurricane.  The idea here is that a hurricane is big and ominous, but can be tracked with some predictability.  This is like the general idea of death.  A tornado though is often a complete surprise.  This is like the idea of a specific death.  There is a difference between the general idea of something, and the specific instance of it happening.

After this, the person feels a moment of self-consciousness.  They imagine people seeing them on the ground crying (to those in the stands).  They either think that these people will understand the sadness and significance of their emotions (it either makes sense) or that the people will look at them like they are foolish for crying about a dog (or is foolishness).

This brief moment of self-consciousness ends though as the person comes back to their situation.  They stop thinking and just feel where they are.  They go back to how they started, on the concrete (on the tomb like stone), crying (all is blurry) and in an intensely focused moment (in the singularity).

In terms of form, some elements are:

Lines two, three and four are repeated as lines fourteen, fifteen and sixteen.

All lines are between two and five words long.

Seven of the sixteen lines, end in a word, starting with ‘s’.

 

Hopefully you enjoyed this poem with an explanation.

Post Series: Poems with Explanations: The play

Hey, the play’s beginning.

What do you mean you won’t be there for the start?

What else do you have to do?

Alright, fine, when the lead actor calls for audience involvement, you show up.

Hey, the play’s a third of the way through, the lead actor’s calling for audience involvement.  What you’re supposed to do first, is make a lot of noise.

Now watch the play.

What do you mean?  What’s wrong with the lead actor saying their lines behind that wall most of the time?  It’s for dramatic effect.  Don’t you know about theater?

How many times are you going to go to the concession stand?  You’ve missed some really important parts.

What’s that?  Oh, the lead actor’s speaking in Dutch.  You do know Dutch, right?

What’s that?  You have to go make a phone call?  Alright, but this is a good part coming up.

Hey, you’ve missed about a quarter of the play with that call.  What?  Oh, what happened?  Well, that guy there, well, he used to be married to her over there, but now he’s married to her over there.

Hold on.  What’s that?  Hey, do you hear that?  They are saying the lead actor has to leave the play.  They need someone to take his place and finish it for him.  Hey, you’ve been watching the play right?  Hey, over there, this person here can take over.

Don’t worry.  You’ll be fine.  How hard can it be to finish an actor’s role in a play you’ve only seen part of?  Here, here’s the program from the play.  It should be enough to help you.  You’ll do fine.

 

This poem is about an adult child settling a recently deceased parent’s estate as well as closing out their life.  It uses a person watching a lead actor in a play as a metaphor.

In the poem, there are three main people: the lead actor (representing the parent), the person watching the play referred to as “you” (the adult child) and a third person who is also watching this play.  This third person is the one speaking in the poem.  Their words are the only one the reader directly reads.

The idea of the poem is to express the difficulty involved in settling a parent’s estate and closing out their life.  The idea is that a parent has lived a whole life that the adult child was only part of.  Now that adult child has to figure out aspects of their parent’s life from incomplete sources and close things out.  The child has to figure out all sorts of things: bank accounts, property, vehicles, a will, bills, debt, credit cards, mortgages, insurance, etc.  There are also things like: email accounts, social media accounts, personal items, etc. to deal with.  Information about these things may be unorganized and limited.  The idea is one of dealing with uncertainty.

The idea of the poem is a simple one: How does a person close out another person’s life, when they only know so much about it?

Now, as a point, there is obviously more to dealing with a parent’s death besides the practical matters addressed by the poem.  Those things are obviously very important, they are just not the focus of this poem.

Here are what the different paragraphs mean:

First paragraph: The third person (not the parent or the adult child) announces that that parent has been born.  This is the start of the play.

Second paragraph: The third person is questioning the fact that the adult child won’t be there for the start of the play (i.e. the start of their parent’s life).  The idea here is somewhat metaphysical in that the third person is questioning someone who is nonexistent at the time they are being questioned.  The idea in the poem though is simply to say that the adult child missed the start of their parent’s life (and therefore begins the idea of lacking information).

Third paragraph: This continues the idea of the second paragraph and is meant to be a little humorous.  The thing that prevents the adult child from seeing the start of the play, is their nonexistence at the time it starts.  The third person in some way questions what could be so important that they miss the start of the play.

Fourth paragraph: The third person is telling the adult child that they can basically start watching the play when they are born.  The idea here, is that that is the moment when the adult child can start to see their parent’s life.

Fifth paragraph: When the play is a third of the way through, the parent’s life is a third of the way through.  At this moment, the adult child is born.  The third person says humorously that the first thing they are to do is make noise.

Sixth paragraph: Here the third person is telling the adult child to watch their parent’s life.

Seventh paragraph: The idea here is that while a child is watching their parent’s life as they grow up, they are actually missing most of it.  For example, the child does not see their parent at work.  The unheard words of the adult child at this point are basically saying that they are having trouble understanding the play because they can’t hear or see parts of it.  The idea here is to stress that the adult child will have limited information later.

Eighth paragraph: The idea here is that the third person is criticizing the adult child for missing parts of the play.  The idea is that the child grew up and had a life.  They missed parts of their parent’s life.

Ninth paragraph: The point here is that the adult child, because they lack certain knowledge about their parent, has a hard time understanding certain things about their life.

Tenth paragraph: In this part, the adult child grew up and left home.  That is represented by the phone call.

Eleventh paragraph: Here, the third person is saying that the adult child missed a lot of their parent’s life when they left.  They try to summarize what happened while they were gone.

Twelfth paragraph: This is where the parent dies.  The adult child at this point has to take over, settle their parent’s estate and close out their life.

Thirteenth paragraph: The third person states the main idea of the poem, that it is difficult to settle someone’s life when you only know part of what has happened in it.

In terms of form, this poem is presented as a one-sided conversation.  Only one voice is heard: that of the mysterious third person.  The adult child and the parent are not heard from directly.

*****

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: The burial of Sarah

In the cold ground the form did lay,
so still and calm as snow did fall,
and there one said some words that night,

          as stars did shine above so bright.

And words did roam to find a place,
and one was said that fit the sight,

          as stars did shine above so bright.

And in the cold as darkness came,
some tears did fall for one now known,
and there one stood and felt the plight,

          as stars did shine above so bright.

 

This poem is about the burial of a homeless woman.  The woman died of illness, and a homeless man, who was near her when she died, is burying her.

In the first stanza, the woman is in the ground before she is covered with dirt.  It is quiet and cold and snow is falling.  By the grave, a man is standing and saying some type of words.  It is night.  There is a refrain after this that mentions the stars in the sky above.

In the stanza after the refrain, the man standing by the grave saying some words, finds a problem.  He does not know the name of the woman he is burying.  He wants to say her name with his words.  As he searches for a name in his mind, he looks at her in the grave, and decides that Sarah fits the way she looks.  He names her this as he says more words.  After this, there is a refrain about the stars in the sky.

After the second refrain, the next stanza starts with the man pushing dirt onto Sarah.  He starts to cry.  He did not know Sarah, but since he has named her, he feels a connection to her and feels a sadness at her death.  He feels a pain at the circumstances that caused Sarah to die the way she did and led to her having to be buried in a field by someone she didn’t know.  After this is a refrain about the stars in the sky above.

This poem is about one person burying another person whom they don’t know.  In the process, they find it necessary to give the person they are burying a name.

This poem uses the experimental poetry form Refrains, that was posted on this blog on July 22, 2016.  The description of the form can be read from the post.

In this poem, there is a certain ambiguity.  What is happening in the scene is referred to in a poetic way, rather than directly (with the exception of the title).  This reflects the situation of the man in the poem.  He is burying someone he does not know.  He decides it is right to give this person a name.  He didn’t feel a person should be buried nameless.  The man is expressing a feeling, emotion and idea, but there is a struggle to it.  This is reflected in the style of the poem.

In the poem, each of the stanzas has a somewhat depressing quality.  Even without knowing what the poem is about, the quality should come through.  The refrains though, are the opposite.  The first stanza, for example, mentions cold ground, a form laying in it, and night.  The refrain then mentions shining bright stars.  This contrast was reflective of the situation.

The poem shows a depressing scene: a homeless woman died outside in the cold night because of illness.  She was alone except for a nearby man who didn’t know her.  There was no one to help her and no one to bury her properly.

Despite this though, there is a goodness in the poem: the man.  The man couldn’t help Sarah before she died, but he did what he could afterwards.  He buries her, says some words that he feels will be respectful of her life and do something for her, and he gives her a name.  The actions of this man are reflected in the bright shining stars.

*****

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.

Poem with an explanation: Ode to Oro

Ode to Oro

A piece of gold,
within the sea,
found from the shimmer.

Brought out to sky,
carried by the breeze,
to a far off lake.

And there the gold,
did find another,
and both did shine.

But something there,
it was not right,
and the gold began to fade.

The color went,
and flowed away,
until the gold was gone.

Then to the land,
what was there left,
was sent away.

The other left,
it still did shine,
but less brightly.

But through all this,
the gold was bright,
and still brightens the thoughts.

 

This poem is about a goldfish named Oro.  Oro is Spanish for gold.

In the first stanza, Oro is bought from a store.  He was spotted because of his bright color.

In the second stanza, Oro is carried home and brought to a fish tank.

When Oro gets to the tank, in the third stanza, he finds another goldfish there.  Both are happy.

But soon, in the fourth stanza, something is wrong.  Oro begins to get sick, and his color fades.

In the fifth stanza, Oro dies.

In the sixth stanza, Oro is buried in a yard.

In the seventh stanza, the other goldfish, is less happy.

In the last stanza, Oro is remembered.

Shadow Commemoration Day Nineteen

There are moments that pass,
instances of simplicity,
where small thoughts,
and little glimpses,
of the past appear.

In a way,
they are felt,
they are seen in an instant,
but not quickly,
like looking over,
a whole landscape.

There by the slate,
there by the steel,
there by the wood,
the life is missing,
yet somehow is felt.

A thought occurs,
will,
as time flows,
these feelings stop.

Shadow Commemoration Day Eighteen

So far in this commemoration, there have been a blending of tones.  Some of the posts have had a sad tone and some have been a little brighter.  In some ways, it has been a balance.  When thinking of Shadow, there is a mixture of sadness that he is gone, and happiness at the dog he was.

In terms of poetry, as posts on this blog generally relate to, this idea of balancing emotions can be applied to writing poems.

There are many instances in life where emotions are blended, the death of a pet like Shadow being a very good example.  These moments are sad, but at times, when thinking back, there can be moments of happiness.  Other instances in life have a different blend of emotions.  This general idea of blending emotions can be applied to poetry.

Here is a poem about Shadow.  It blends the emotions of sadness and happiness and also blends the forms of blank verse (for the sad part) and rhyming iambic tetrameter (for the happier part).

A shadow is upon an empty home,
where once a Shadow dwelt with joy and life,
at times when once his life it could be felt,
right now a shadow can’t be held at all.

Yet there in thoughts a light does shine,
when in the mind his joy is felt,
the shadow moves behind the line,
and in the heart the pain does melt.

Shadow Commemoration Day Eleven

There’s something about trying to summarize a life.  It’s like trying to take everything about a life and put it in a box.  Some place, that could be opened, and looked inside, and everything about the life could be seen.

That’s what it’s like now, as Shadow’s life is commemorated.  Things he had, like his collar and hedgehog toy, were put in a box.  Photographs were gathered, and are in an album.  Memories about him were written.  It’s almost as if, that if this wasn’t done, something about him might be forgotten or the memory might change.  It’s like trying to hold on.  There’s fear the image will dissolve.  Here’s a poem about this:

Right now,
you can be imagined,
your nose,
against the window screen,
your running,
in the grass,
your little excited hop,
and that cute play bow.

All of this,
is in a bottle,
and it’s trying to be poured,
into another,
with none of it spilling,
and none of it,
being left behind.

What if something was left?
What was that something like?
What was the sound,
the smell,
the feel?

How did you dig around the plant?
How did you kick your feet?
Will everything be remembered?
Will everything be documented?
Is this even the way?

Right now,
one bottle,
is being poured,
into another.

Hopefully,
it will work out.