Poem with an explanation: the hail storm

the sun rises
as darkness falls
hurrying out
into the hail storm

from the moment the wheels
to the halls of stone
the jackals bite
the hyenas laugh

into the cave
the walls of respite
but only for a moment
then to the storm

the sentinels’ eyes
are turned away
their ears of stone
do not hear

the wheels again
and steps are taken
nightmares continue
during the day

through the glass
the crowd jeers
and comforting hands
are somewhere else

into the night
a place of escape
dreading the moment
of the sun’s return

 

This poem is about being bullied.  In the poem, there is a little boy who is bullied at school.

The boy wakes up (the sun rises) and the reality that he will be bullied that day hits him as he does (as darkness falls).  In a strange situation, he has to hurry to get ready to go to school (hurrying out), a place he really doesn’t want to go (into the hail storm).

As soon as the bus comes (from the moment the wheels) the bullying starts.  It continues at school (to the halls of stone), where bullies harass the boy (the jackals bite) while their friends laugh (the hyenas laugh).

During lunch, the boy hides in the bathroom (into the cave the walls of respite), but lunch is only so long (but only for a moment) and he has to go back among the bullies (then to the storm).

Teachers in the school don’t seem to notice what is happening (the sentinels’ eyes are turned away their ears of stone do not hear).

When the school day is over, the bus takes the boy home (the wheels again) and the boy walks inside his house (and steps are taken).  Rather than finding relief though, the pain the boy experiences continues (nightmares continue during the day).

The bullies harass the boy through social media while others find it humorous and join in (through the glass the crowd jeers). The boy’s parents, seeing him as weak and not understanding the severity of the problem, don’t provide him any comfort (and comforting hands are somewhere else).

The boy goes to sleep (into the night) and finds some peace in the unconsciousness (a place of escape), but at the same time, he dreads the next morning (dreading the moment of the sun’s return).

This poem is about continued plight.  It is about someone feeling helpless.

 

If you like poems with explanations, M. Sakran has an eBook of them.  It is called Understanding: poems with explanations.  It is a collection of twenty original poems, with explanations of each of them. The main purpose of the book is to help readers expand their understanding of poetry through the explanations.

The poems in the book cover a variety of topics such as poverty, homelessness, pain, neglect, crime and illness.

The explanations look at the overall meanings of the poems, the meanings of individual parts of the poems, and form in the poems.

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Poem with an explanation: teddy bear

The child,
put the teddy bear,
into the toy chest,
and ran off,
to play,
with his friends.

 

This poem is about a person putting their parent in a nursing home.  The poem has the following symbols:

 The child – this is the person.  They are a child in that they are a child of their parent.  This is something they forget.

 The teddy bear – this is the parent.  Like a parent, a teddy bear comforts a child when it is young.  This is also something the person forgets.

 The toy chest – this is the nursing home.  It is near but something that is only opened on occasion.

 Playing with his friends – the occupations and distractions of life.  At some point the child stops playing with the bear.  At some point the person forgets their parent in the nursing home.

P. S. If you like poems with explanations, please see Understanding: poems with explanations.

Poem with an explanation: having walked in the shoes

Having walked in the shoes,
one would think,
the words would be known,
but having walked in the shoes,
somehow,
there are no words.

 

This poem is about death and relatability.  The poem focuses on two people: a person who experienced a death in the short range past, and a person who has just experienced a death.  In the poem, the overt focus is on the first person.

The poem looks at the idea, that one would presume, that a person who has experienced something in the past, would know what to say to someone who has just experienced the same thing.  The reality though, in some situations, is that the experience of having been through something brings the realization that there are no sufficient words to say to someone else who has just experienced it.

In the poem, the person who experienced a death in the short range past has experienced the same thing as the person who has just experienced a death.  In a sense, they have walked in their shoes.  With this experience though, when called upon to say something comforting to the person who has just experienced a death, they realize there is nothing they can say.  They know what it is like, and they understand the inadequacy of any words they would use, and so they are at a loss for words.

As form elements, this poem repeats ideas.  It repeats the idea, and the exact phrase of, “having walked in the shoes”, and it repeats the idea of “words”.

 

If you liked this poem with an explanation, please consider purchasing a copy of the eBook: Understanding: poems with explanations.

Poem with an explanation: closing a medicine cabinet door

Who knew,
closing a medicine cabinet door,
could be so horrifying?

 

In some horror movies there is a sight effect that is shown.  In the effect a character is looking at a mirror that is on a door.  They see themselves and the background behind them.  Everything looks normal.  The character then opens the door, does something, and closes it.  When the character closes the door, they see something horrifying in the mirror.  It might be something behind them or it might be a change in how they appear.

This effect is the idea of the poem above.  In the poem, a person is reflecting on an experience.

The person in the poem just saw a horror movie with the effect mentioned.  After it is done, they go to the bathroom.  While there, they open a mirrored medicine cabinet door.  Then they remember the scene from the movie.

All of a sudden they become afraid.  They all of a sudden feel something behind them.  They all of a sudden have the sense that something ominous is about the happen.

In this moment, a simple act, closing a medicine cabinet door, has become frightening.  Something that was a thoughtless act, now has an immense amount of thought with it.  The person very much feels a moment they otherwise would not have noticed.

This basic idea – that of being scared of something that normally isn’t scary because of some experience – is something that can be applied to a number of situations.  In this case, the previous experience was based on fiction.  A poem could be written though where a previous experience was real.  For example, a person may have shocked themselves when they plugged something into an outlet.  The next time they plug something in, they might pause with fear.  The person would feel fear at what normally isn’t a frightening situation.

Poem with an explanation: Hello Sandy

Hello Sandy,
it’s nice to meet you,
you look familiar,
where did you come from?

 

This poem is about a person looking in a mirror and realizing they have aged.  The person was of course aware that they have been aging over the years, but they never stopped to really notice it.  In the poem, the person looks in a mirror and has a moment where they realize how much they’ve aged.

In the poem, the individual the person in the poem meets is named Sandy.  This name is an allusion to the mirror.  Mirrors are made of glass, which contains silica, which is found in sand.  Sand = Sandy.

In the poem’s second line, the person says, “it’s nice to meet you”.  This implies that they see their reflection as a stranger.  They don’t recognize themselves.

In the third line, the person says, “you look familiar”.  This alludes to the fact that the person remembers how they used to look when they were younger.  They also remember being younger.  They can see their younger selves in the person they see in the reflection. (Even though they don’t recognize themselves.)

In the last line, the person asks, “where did you come from?”  This alludes to the idea that age sneaks up on a person.  The person did not feel themselves get to this age.  It is as if it happened all of a sudden.  They are surprised to be where they are.

Poem with an explanation: the same five things

Sitting there,
staring at the list,
the same five things,
the same five things.

Moons,
suns,
sand,
and other things profound,
the same five things,
the same five things.

Looking in the mirror,
not understanding why,
running through the logic,
not making any sense.

Simplicity,
complexity,
a path,
a mountain.

Standing,
at the starting line,
for the whole race,
so far.

The same five things,
the same five things.

 

This poem is about a person and their goals.  The person in the poem has had the same five goals for years.  They haven’t made any progress on them.

In the first stanza, the person looks at a list of their goals.  They stare at it and realize that the list contains the same five goals it has always had.  This hits the person.

In the second stanza, the person contemplates the time that has passed.  They start to think about it and then their mind wanders off into profound thoughts about their life and time.  They come back though and realize they haven’t made any progress on their goals.

In the third stanza, they take stock of themselves and they can’t understand why they haven’t achieved anything.  They try to think through completing their goals logically, but the fact that they haven’t, doesn’t make sense to them.

In the fourth stanza, the person thinks that completing their goals should be simple.  They think of it as a matter of cause and effect.  This is countered with the reality of the complexity they have faced when trying to complete their goals.  They were expecting to walk a path, but instead they feel like they have been trying to climb a mountain.

In the fifth stanza, the person feels like they haven’t achieved anything at all.

In the sixth stanza, the person is left thinking about the same five goals.

Poem with an explanation: 1320

1320
the statue crumbles

across the desert
in the distance
nothing is seen

the car rolls
on square tires
1320

before the gate
316800
floats in the mind

the pieces of stone
are in a pile
of 1320 pieces

 

This poem is about a person who is not physically fit, trying to become so.  On their first day of exercise they decide to jog.

In the first stanza of the poem, the person jogs a quarter of a mile.  A quarter of a mile is 1320 feet.  This is too much for the person and they become spent (the statue crumbles).

The person is very tired after this short distance.  They decide that they should go back home.  In the second stanza, they look back at the distance they have to go.

Although before they jogged, they thought a quarter of a mile was a short distance to traverse, now it seems very far.  They feel like they are looking out over a desert and are unable to see their destination.

In the third stanza, the person starts to walk home.  They are experiencing physical discomfort after the jog and they have trouble walking.  They move slowly like a car with square tires.  They feel all of the quarter mile.

In the fourth stanza, the person is home.  As they stand by their front door, they gain a new perspective on distance.  They think of 60 mph, which is the speed a car might travel.  This is 316800 feet an hour.  They think of this distance, and how it feels like nothing, and how the 1320 feet of the quarter mile feels like a lot.

In the last stanza, the person sits down on the floor of their house in the air conditioning.  They are tired after the jog.  The distance has become part of them.

Poem with an explanation: Happiness again

Behind the bars,
looking out,
listening for a sound.

  Behind the bars,
  looking in,
  sitting in the silence.

The door opens,
eyes look up,
with hope.

  The door opens,
  eyes look down,
  in the emptiness.

Waiting each day,
seeing joy,
waiting for the turn.

  Waiting each day,
  seeing sadness,
  with nothing to wait for.

    Having a thought.

    Waiting.

    Having a thought.

    Waiting.

    Time passes.

    Waiting.

    Taking a step.

    Waiting.

Behind the bars,
looking out,
seeing the face.

  In front of the bars,
  looking in,
  seeing the face.

Happiness again.

 

This poem is about a person and a dog.  The person recently had their dog die and the dog in the poem is in an animal shelter.

The poem has stanzas with alternating focus for the most part (although how that is applied changes in the poem).  For the first six stanzas, the odd stanzas are from the perspective of the dog and the even stanzas are from the perspective of the person.

In the first stanza (Behind the bars, looking out, listening for a sound), the dog is in a cage at the shelter.  It is looking outside the cage bars hoping someone will come for it.

In the second stanza (Behind the bars, looking in, sitting in the silence), the person is alone at home.  Their dog has died and they are sad.  Their house feels like a prison (Behind the bars) and they are feeling loneliness.

In the third stanza (The door opens, eyes look up, with hope), the dog hears someone come into the shelter.  They look up hoping the person will pick them.

In the fourth stanza (The door opens, eyes look down, in the emptiness), the person opens the door to a room where their dog was.  The look down because they are sad because they are sad their dog is no longer there.

In the fifth stanza (Waiting each day, seeing joy, waiting for the turn), the dog in the shelter waits for someone to get it.  It sees the happiness of other dogs that are picked and it waits for its turn.

In the sixth stanza (Waiting each day, seeing sadness, with nothing to wait for), the person waits to feel better, but they are sad, and they feel like they have nothing to wait for because their dog is gone.

The first six stanzas follow a pattern.  They are grouped as pairs.  In each pair (stanzas 1 and 2, stanzas 3 and 4, and stanzas 5 and 6), the first line is the same and the second lines start with the same word and then have an opposite word (out/in, up/down, joy/sadness).  All the stanzas are three lines.

Stanzas seven through fourteen are the next set of stanzas.  In this set, the person’s perspective is shown in the odd stanzas, and the dog’s perspective is shown in the even.

In stanza seven, the person has the first thought of getting another dog.  In the eighth stanza, the dog waits.  In the ninth stanza, the person thinks of this more.  In the tenth stanza, the dog waits.  In the eleventh stanza, time passes.  In the twelfth stanza, the dog waits.  In the thirteenth stanza, the person goes to the shelter.  In the fourteenth stanza, the dog waits.

In stanzas seven through fourteen, the stanzas for the dog are all the same.

The next set of stanzas are stanzas fifteen and sixteen.

Stanza fifteen parallels stanza one, and has the same first two lines.  In this stanza (Behind the bars, looking out, seeing the face), the dog sees the person who has come to get it.

In the sixteenth stanza (In front of the bars, looking in, seeing the face), the person stands and sees the dog.  This stanza has the same second line as stanza two.

The last stanza is a combination of perspectives.  It shows the dog and person are happy again.

Poem with an explanation: the weight of sand

Looking in the sand,
and seeing,
the imaginary reality,
for all the suns,
and all the moons.

Standing there,
silently speaking,
reflecting on sand,
and wondering.

In the corner,
a tally is made,
in the thoughts,
an inverse of worth.

The equation is simple,
so the figures say,
reduce x,
increase y,
reduce z.
Adding the numbers,
the answer doesn’t match.

In the cave,
thinking of sand,
and wondering if,
someone else,
will ever be there.

 

This poem is about a person struggling with their weight.  It is about the negative feelings a person can have as they have this struggle.  It is about the emotions a person can go through as they stand in the bathroom, look at themselves in the mirror, and weigh themselves on a scale.

At the start of the poem, the person looks in the mirror (Looking in the sand), and sees their reflection (and seeing).  The image they see is real, in the sense that it is what they really look like, but it is also distorted by their perception of themselves (the imaginary reality).  They have stood in front of the mirror on a regular basis for years (for all the suns, and all the moons) and looked at themselves like this.

The person stands in front of the mirror (Standing there), and they talk to themselves aloud.  They see their reflection speaking even though it isn’t making a sound (silently speaking).  They talk about how long they have been overweight (reflecting on sand – sand representing time and their image in the mirror), and they wonder if they will ever be able to change how they are (and wondering).

The person is in a bathroom.  In the corner (In the corner), there is a scale.  The person weighs themselves (a tally is made) and the person feels that the higher their weight the less their worth (in the thoughts, and inverse of worth).

As the person steps off of the scale, they think of the often repeated advice (The equation is simple, so the figures say): eat less (reduce x), move more (increase y), and weight will go down (reduce z).  The person thinks of their reality where they have done this (Adding the numbers), and thinks about how it hasn’t worked for them (the answer doesn’t match).

The person stands against their bathroom door (In the cave), and they think of time and how their reflection looks in the mirror (thinking of sand), and they wonder if (and wondering if) they will ever change how they are (someone else, will ever be there).

 

If you like poems with explanations, please consider purchasing a copy of M. Sakran’s self-published eBook, Understanding: poems with explanations.  It contains twenty original poems, with explanations of each of them.  The main purpose of the book is to help readers expand their understanding of poetry through the explanations.

Understanding: poems with explanations is available for a current price of $0.99 (plus tax where applicable).  It is also available in currencies other than the U.S. dollar.  It can be purchased with British Pounds, Euros (1, 2, 3, 4, 5), Japanese Yen, Brazilian Reals, Canadian Dollars, Mexican Pesos, Australian Dollars and Indian Rupees.