Poem with an explanation: Why not wear blue?

“Why not wear blue?”

“Because it wouldn’t work.”

“Have you tried it?”

“No, but why would a person try that?  It wouldn’t work.”

“How do you know unless you try?”

“You could justify any idea with that.”

“Just give it a try.”

“Just to prove it doesn’t work?”

“You don’t know that.”

“It’s obvious.”

“You just don’t want to succeed.”

“You just keep criticizing when your advice isn’t taken.”

“If you really wanted to change you would try it.”

“Just go away.”

 

This poem is a simplification of a conversation between two people.  In the poem one person has something about themselves they have been trying to change for some time.  It could be losing weight, for example.

The person has been working toward this goal for some time, with little success.  Because of this, people have started giving them advice.  Having heard what they consider to be random and bad advice too many times, the person gets frustrated when they hear it.  The people giving advice, viewing themselves as just wanting to help, wonder why their advice isn’t being followed, and since it isn’t being followed, they question the level of motivation of the other person.  The conversations come with frustration, and generally follow the pattern of the poem.

In the first line of the poem, the advice giver gives some piece of advice.  They heard it somewhere.  Maybe on a morning news show or from a magazine.  A celebrity said it.  The advice giver values this kind of advice.

The person with the situation, says that the advice wouldn’t work.  They view the advice as random.  They have a disdain for “tips and tricks” types of advice.  Having struggled to make a change, they view advice that claims to make things easy with suspicion.

The person giving the advice then questions the other person.  They ask if they have tried the advice.  They are implying a way of thinking that they will ask later, “How does a person know something won’t work unless they’ve tried it.”

The person with the situation responds by basically stating that the advice is bad.

The other person then states their advice philosophy, “How do you know unless you try?”

The one with the situation though resents this idea.  Having heard, from their perspective, all sorts of outlandish and random advice, they view this with resentment.  Their rebuttal is to extend the philosophy.  They say that if the only way to know if something works is to try it, then that would justify trying anything, no matter how absurd it might be.

The advice giver doesn’t see things that way though.  As far as they are concerned, they got the advice from a source they trust.  Also, they view the advice as harmless.  They feel that if it works, things will be better, and if it doesn’t, little will be lost.

This though makes the person with the situation more frustrated.  They feel like they are constantly being called upon to prove bad advice doesn’t work.  They feel like they have been repeatedly given bad advice and then asked to test it out.  They are tired of it.

The advice giver though, holds on to the idea that a person can’t really know if something works or not, unless they try it.

The person with the situation though sees this as a faulty way of thinking.  To them the advice is obviously bad, and there is no reason to go through the motion of proving it just to satisfy someone else.

At this point, the advice giver themselves becomes frustrated.  Because the person with the situation won’t take what they think is good advice, they question the person’s motivation to succeed.  They are basically thinking that if the person does not want to take their advice, the only reason must be that the person does not really want to change.

The person with the situation though resents this.  As far as they are concerned, this is a pattern they have heard before.  They get bad advice, they don’t take it, and they are criticized for it.  They are tired of getting what they perceive to be weird and random suggestions, and then being criticized for not following them.

The person giving the advice comes back to their refrain.  They hold onto the idea that advice that seems harmless should be tried.  They can’t see what it would hurt.

The other person, being tired of the conversation and of constantly feeling like they have to defend their actions, tells the person to go away.

This poem is about what may be a familiar situation in life, that of giving and getting advice.  It examines the idea of advice being given over an extended period of time.  It looks at the different points of view and the frustration.

P. S. If you like poems with explanations, consider purchasing a copy of Understanding: poems with explanations.

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Poem with an explanation: Two women

sitting on the chair,
in the silence of the room,
back to the story

sitting on the chair,
in the music of the room,
back to the story

 

This poem contrasts the experiences of two women.  Before the poem begins, both women are in similar circumstances.  Both women are invited to the same party.  Both women are introverts and don’t do well in social situations.  They have a hard time talking to strangers, they are not knowledgeable of popular culture, and they don’t communicate well in large groups.

Under these circumstances, the first woman (the one in the first stanza) decides not to go to the party.  She feels that if she goes, she won’t be able to talk to others or interact with a large group, and that she will feel uncomfortable or lonely.

The second woman (the one in the second stanza) decides to go to the party.  She feels lonely at home and thinks that she might meet people and make friends at the party.  She believes that she will feel part of a group if she goes and that she will feel less lonely going than if she stayed at home.

In the poem, it turns out that the first woman made the better decision.

When the poem starts, it is an hour into the party.  The first woman, as described in the first stanza, is sitting at home in a chair.  She is reading a novel.  There is a point where she realizes she is alone, when she notices the silence in the room.  For a moment this makes her feel lonely, but then she escapes into the story of her novel.

The second woman, as described in the second stanza, is sitting alone in a chair at the party.  She is a wallflower.  Although she had wanted to interact with others, her shyness and lack of social skills prevents her.  Also, no one at the party initiates interaction with her.

The second woman is sitting by herself, and she notices the music of the room.  There is talking and dancing and music and a party going on around her.  She isn’t part of it though, and sitting there makes her feel awkward.  She feels self-conscious and thinks that people are noticing her by herself.  She doesn’t know where to look or what to do so that she doesn’t look like she is doing nothing.  As a means of escape, she daydreams.  When she daydreams, she has moments where she feels like she is no longer in the room, and it provides her comfort.

In the poem, the first woman is able to be more comfortable and feel less lonely, ironically, because she is alone.  Unlike the second woman, who has her aloneness accentuated by people around her who seem to be a group she is not part of, the first woman is better able to ignore the fact that she is alone because there is no one there to remind her of it.

In terms of form, this poem is made up of two poems.  Each stanza is a 5/7/5 haiku.

Both stanzas are almost identical.  There is only one word of difference between the two.  The first stanza has “silence” and the second has “music”.  In a twist from how the poem might at first be read, the silence of the first stanza turns out to be less lonely causing than the music of the second.

 

P. S.  M. Sakran was wondering if anyone would be interested in participating in a poem with an explanation collaboration. The basic idea would be that a person would write a poem, and M. Sakran would write an explanation of it.  The details would have to be worked out, but it might be something that could be interesting.  If anyone is interested in this idea, please contact M. Sakran using the form on the Contact Page.  Thank you.

Poem with an explanation: the deaths of silence and regret

Numbers in a row,
a transposition,
a travel down the lane,
and the mountain appears.

The fire stops burning,
a descent,
the drawbridge lowers,
and the rocks are piled.

From within the cave,
the eyes open,
the sound of bells,
awakens.

Traveling on,
looking out,
seeing the sight,
and the meter rises.

Still by the bridge,
the rocks move on,
unaware,
of the storm.

Something is taken,
and steps run,
it all flashes,
and then a stop.

Roaring and roaring,
the lion yells,
its teeth are shown,
and an order given.

Still by the bridge,
the rocks move on,
unaware,
of the storm.

The roar again,
the clocks are off,
the lion bites,
and silence falls.

Silence sees,
and asks,
the lion roars,
and speaks.

Silence tries,
but can’t,
silence tries,
but dies.

The lion heaves,
and pants,
its teeth glare,
as it calls out.

Seasons pass.

Regret stands still,
hearing the words,
asking the questions,
then led away.

 

This poem tells a story.  It is the story of two people who die.

In the poem, a deaf person is driving to a house to pick up items that were left outside.  He has arranged with someone to get somethings.  He is going to pick up furniture and other items.

In the first stanza, he is driving along.  He has an address (Numbers in a row).  There is a mistake though, and two of the numbers were mixed up (a transposition).  Because of this, he goes to the wrong house.  He drives down a one lane road (a travel down the lane) and when he sees a house with items outside (and the mountain appears) that matches the address he has, he thinks he has the right place.

He stops his truck (The fire stops burning), gets out (a descent), opens the back (the drawbridge lowers), and starts loading the truck (and the rocks are piled).

Inside the house (From within the cave), the owner of the house wakes up (the eyes open and awakens) when he hears the noise (the sound of bells).

The man inside the house, goes to the window (Traveling on), looks outside (looking out), sees the other man loading things in a truck (seeing the sight) (the things were outside because the man in the house was doing some work on his house.  He needed the items out of the house so he could change his floors.), and he gets very angry (and the meter rises).

The deaf man is still by his truck (Still by the bridge) loading items (the rocks move on).  He is unaware (unaware) that the man inside is angry (of the storm).

The man inside gets a gun (Something is taken), he runs outside (and steps run), everything is a blur (it all flashes) and he stops some feet away from the man loading the truck (and then a stop).

The man with the gun yells for the other man to stop loading the truck (Roaring and roaring, the lion yells), he points his gun (its teeth are shown), and he tells the other man to stop or he’ll shoot (and an order given).

The deaf man doesn’t see the man with the gun because the man with the gun is behind him and to one side, and he doesn’t hear him because he is deaf.  He keeps on loading the truck (Still by the bridge, the rocks move on, unaware, of the storm).

The man with the gun yells again (The roar again).  He doesn’t pause or stop afterward (the clocks are off), but rather, in his anger, fires his gun (the lion bites).  The bullet hits the deaf man and he falls (and silence falls).

The deaf man rolls over and looks up at the man with the gun (Silence sees).  With his eyes he asks “Why?”, as in why was he shot (and asks).  The man with the gun yells some more (the lion roars) and he tells the man on the ground that he is a thief and that he should have stopped when he was told (and speaks).

The deaf man, tries to understand what happened (Silence tries), but can’t (but can’t).  He tries to stay alive (silence tries), but he dies (but dies).

The man with the gun is spent and out of breath (The lion heaves and pants), he holds his gun tightly (its teeth glare) and he calls out to someone else in the house to call the police (as it calls out).

Time passes (Seasons pass).  The police come, they investigate and they arrest the man who shot.  Time passes and the man goes on trial.

At the trial, the man who shot stands up (Regret stands still).  The jury says he is guilty of murder and the judge sentences him to death (hearing the words).  He asks with regretful confusion how was he to know it was a mistake and the man was deaf (asking the questions) and then they lead him away (then led away).

 

This poem examines how a mistake, a misunderstanding, an overreaction and a lack of communication lead to the death of two people.

 

P. S. Tomorrow is the one year anniversary of the self-publication of M. Sakran’s eBook Understanding: poems with explanations. If you like poems with explanations, then consider purchasing a copy of the eBook.

Poem with an explanation: heart

Cotton and rivers,
clay and waterfalls,
a tree with roots,
and then a fall.

Broken bells,
windless chimes,
a pile of leaves,
upon the ground.

Sun and Earth,
light and dark,
the drawbridge descends,
and villagers return.

Moments and moments,
light the fires,
moments and moments,
the statues crumble.

Something more,
something said,
the fog descends,
and the story ends.

 

This poem tells a story.  It is about a person who had a heart attack.

The first stanza starts, with the person going about daily chores.  The person does laundry (Cotton and rivers – cotton being clothes and rivers being the washing of the machine), dishes (clay and waterfalls – clay being the ceramic dishes and waterfalls being the faucet) and they mop (a tree with roots – a mop).  In the middle of the mundane, the person has a heart attack (and then a fall – the person falls to the ground).

In the second stanza, the person tries to cry out (Broken bells – the person makes distorted noises because of the pain, like a broken bell would make a distorted noise).  Then they become silent (windless chimes – chimes without wind are silent).  They are still upon on the ground (a pile of leaves, upon the ground – leaves are still and in a disorganized pile, like the person upon the ground in pain.  Also, a pile of leaves is generally a pile of dead leaves.  This shows the seriousness of the person’s condition).

Time passes (Sun and Earth – the movements of the Sun and Earth indicate time).  It goes from daytime to evening (light and dark).  At some point the front door opens (the drawbridge descends), and the person’s family returns from wherever they were (and villagers return).

When the family returns and sees the person on the ground, they have a number of moments (Moments and moments).  They have moments of shock, of fear, of disbelief, and of panic.  They call for help (light the fires – like signal fires).  They have more moments (moments and moments).  The situation overwhelms them (the statues crumble).

At this point, rather than bringing the story to a defined conclusion, the poem ends with ambiguity.  More things happen (Something more, something said), but whatever that is, it isn’t clear (the fog descends).  The story ends (and the story ends) with this ambiguity.

The idea of ending the poem this way, is that the people in the poem are filled with ambiguity (among other emotions) when they find the person on the ground.  They don’t know what will happen.  In this case, neither does the reader.

In terms of form, the poem is five stanzas long.  Each stanza has four lines.  All of the lines are between two and four words long.  In stanzas three and four, all of the lines are three words long.  In stanza four, lines one and three are the same.

Poem with an explanation: guilt

On the outskirts,
hearing the thunder,
seeing the lightening,
and in the darkness,
wondering.

In the light of morning,
through the glass,
a breeze is blowing,
and all is calm.

In the light of morning,
through the glass,
the river rages,
and all is gone.

In the field,
having dodged the bullet,
seeing the form,
upon the ground.

It seems injustice,
to sit in the breeze,
while the river rages,
so nearby.

It seems injustice,
to feel the thoughts,
then turn the eyes,
to something new.

 

This poem is about the guilt that comes with being near a natural disaster, but not severely impacted by it personally.  Think of someone, for example, in the area where Hurricane Harvey hit, but they and their home are fine.  They see all the devastation on television and feel a sense of guilt that, although they are part of it, they aren’t experiencing what others are experiencing.

In the first stanza, the person is on the outskirts of the impacted area.  They hear the thunder and see the lightening, as the storm happens around them.  At night, they look out at the rain, and wonder if their house will flood.

In the second stanza, the day after the rain ends, the person, in the morning, looks out their window and sees nice weather and that all is peaceful.  Their home did not flood.

In the third stanza, after the person looks through their window, they turn on their television.  They see the flood waters and the destruction.

The fourth stanza switches the scene.  It uses the metaphor of a battlefield.  The person in the poem is shown as standing in a battlefield.  They have just had the terrifying moment of being closely missed by a bullet.  As they stand there in shock, they see someone dead next to them, who the bullet hit.  This is a metaphor for their situation.  The storm came near to them, but impacted someone else.

In the fifth stanza, the person feels guilt that they are alright, while nearby, there is devastation.

In the sixth stanza, the person realizes how they feel.  They realize that they feel bad about what is happening, but more so, that they will soon turn to something else.  They feel bad that they are going to get on with their lives as if nothing happened.

In terms of form, the poem has six stanzas.  The first stanza has five lines and all of the rest have four.  The first two lines of stanzas two and three are the same.  In stanzas two and three, the first three words of the fourth lines are the same.  The first lines of stanzas five and six are the same.

Poem with an explanation: still awake

going along
seeing the dream
still awake

 

This poem is about unfulfilled aspirations.  The person in the poem is going about their life, they see the life they want, and they realize that they aren’t living it.  They have had the aspiration and have struggled toward it for some time, but have not reached it.

An example might be a person who works for someone else, but dreams of working for themselves.  They have tried to move in that direction, but haven’t made any progress.  One day they are driving along and they see someone opening a store for the first time.  They see it, realize that is what they want and then realize that they aren’t there.  There’s a certain sense of defeat in the situation.  The person wants to be there, has tried to be there, but isn’t.  To see someone else achieve what they want, emphasizes to them that they haven’t achieved it.

The poem is not about envy or jealousy, but rather it is about a person feeling bad about their unfulfilled goals.  The poem is inward looking rather than outward.

In terms of form, the poem is three lines with a word count pattern of 2 – 3 – 2, and a syllable count pattern of 4 – 4 – 3.

Poem with an explanation: You who call in the night

You who call in the night,
what do you need?

Is it

  sustenance?
  a resolution?
  a warning of dread?
  an insignificance?
  just a presence?

You who call in the night,
what do you need?

 

This poem has two levels, the literal and the metaphorical.

On the literal level, the poem is about a simple idea: a dog outside a house barking with a sound to get attention.  The dog is the one who calls in the night, and the person in the house asks what the dog needs.

The person in the house believes the dog is barking so that:

  the person will bring the dog food
  the person will solve a problem for the dog (ex. something is caught on the dog’s collar)
  the person will be aware of something bad (ex. a storm, an animal, an intruder)
  the person will just listen, and there is nothing the dog needs,
  or the person will come outside and spend time with the dog.

When the dog barks, the person questions what the dog needs.  After the list of things, the person questions the dog again.  It is interesting, that at the end of the poem, the person does not actually see what the dog wants, nor does anything for the dog (at least it isn’t stated that they do).

On a metaphorical level, the poem could be seen as about a group in humanity calling out for help.  It could be refugees or the poor of some area or people affected by a war.  Although not equating the two, the poem uses the literal idea of a dog barking for something, to express the idea of the group calling out for help.

The group calls out in the night (from some place of darkness) and others in humanity who hear, question what they want.

As with the dog, they think the group is crying out for:

  aid (sustenance)
  a solving of what is causing their problem (a resolution)
  to warn others that what is harming them might harm others (a warning of dread)
  for no reason (from the perspective of the ones hearing – they may not realize the significance of the plight of the group and think their call is insignificant) (an insignificance)
  for intervention (just a presence).

Again, as with the dog, the ones who hear question the callers, but nothing is said if they help them or not.

The idea of the poem was to take something simple (a dog barking) and apply it to something significant (the plight of some group in humanity).

Poem with an explanation: Home

Home,
peacefulness,
serenity,
what is good seems more,
what is bad seems less

the mundane grows flowers,
the tree,
the wall,
the difference in the sky

all things seem different,
like a lens was changed

the colors are new,
and all is better.

 

This poem is about the perspective of someone who has been away from home for some time.  They were away in an unpleasant situation.  It might have been a long arduous trip, for example.  The person is relieved and happy to be at home.

At the start of the poem, the person is standing in familiar surroundings.  They are home.  They feel a sense of peacefulness and serenity after what they have been through.  They have a new perspective.  The good things at home seem better, and the bad things seem less bad.

The mundane things in their life at home seem to grow flowers and grow better.  They notice with fondness ordinary things like a tree and a wall.  Because of what they have been through and their changed perspective, even the sky looks different.

All things seem different to them, like they are looking through a new lens and can now see things as they really are.

Things look so different that colors seem new.  All seems better to them.

Poem with an explanation: Freedom

the sunshine
and nothing

 

This poem is about ending an ordeal.  The ordeal can be a variety of different things, but generally is something negative that was endured.  It could be extremely negative, like prison, or slightly negative, like a week with in-laws.  Generally though, it is an experience that is endured and the end of which is looked forward to.

The idea of the poem is to convey everything in something small.  The first line of the poem is “the sunshine”.  This is the relief.  This is the end.  This is the freedom from what has happened.  This is the moment where it is all over.

The moment is significant.  There is much to it.  There are tears in the eyes, and a multitude of emotions inside.  It’s quiet, but the significance is loud.  It’s like walking out of prison free.  It’s all that moment contains.

The next line, “and nothing”, expresses the speechlessness of the moment.  It is hard to describe (even in this explanation).  There are no words for it.  Nothing conveys it correctly.  It’s a thousand words that need to be expressed as two words.  Imagine meeting someone as they walk out of prison, and asking, “So what does this feel like?”  There are no words to describe it.

One thing about the poem, is that it is incomplete in some way.  The idea of the poem is that the freedom experienced is simply profound and there are no words that adequately describe it.

This poem is about freedom.  It is about being free from something that was overwhelming.  The idea was to express it simply but in a way that got the point across.

Poem with an explanation: shiver

Shaking,
shaking,
an overwhelming sense,
pricks in the hands,
pricks in the feet,
the bones rattle,
and there is worry.

Jumping,
under the sand,
burying deep,
and hoping.

Shaking,
shaking.

Covering the roof,
with joyfulness,
gathering the sand,
shaking,
shaking,
and waiting.

Slowly the drum,
beats more slowly,
slowly the earth,
slows its quake,
but still,
shaking,
shaking.

In the cave,
an armor of hope,
the way between,
guarded.

Counting,
Counting,
a run,
a burst,
a dash,
hurry,
the armor,
back across,
back,
under the sand,
pull it close,
hold together,
and wait.

The earth still tremors,
and truth is known,
that somewhere across,
a vast sea,
the weaver’s cloth,
does exist.

Counting,
counting,
thoughts of pain,
counting,
counting,
and the ship sails.

A journey,
not recounted,
was made,
and there in the sand,
under the roof,
with the armor,
and the cloth,
peacefulness.

 

This poem is about someone with a fever.  The poem describes them starting to shiver and them seeking warmth.

At the start of the poem, the person is by their bed.  They are standing there, when they start to shiver (shaking, shaking).  They realize what is happening (an overwhelming sense) because they have a cold and know they have a fever.

As the feeling spreads across their body, they feel a pain in their hands (pricks in the hands) and feet (pricks in the feet), they start to shake more (the bones rattle) and they worry about their condition (and there is worry).

They then jump into their bed (jumping), pull their covers on them (under the sand, burying deep) and hope this helps (and hoping).

Despite this though, they continue to shiver (shaking, shaking).

The person has been ill for some time before the fever caused them to shiver, and because of this they had a warm cap in their bed.  They had it there to cover their head, should they feel cold at night.

As the person shivers under their blanket, they reach and find the cap and put it on their head (covering the roof).  They believe that covering their head will have an effect on how warm they feel and so they feel happy when they put it on (with joyfulness).  They then pull their blanket around themselves (gathering the sand), continue to shiver (shaking, shaking) and wait for it to stop (and waiting).

As the person was shivering, their heart was beating faster than normal.  As they are huddled under the covers with their cap on, they feel their heartbeat start to slow (slowly the drum, beats more slowly).  Their shivering also begins to slow (slowly the earth, slows its quake).  Still though, the person shivers (but still, shaking, shaking).

In the person’s closet they have a sweat suit (in the cave, an armor of hope).  They know it is there, but they realize they will feel cold if they get out of bed to get it (the way between, guarded).

The person resolves to get out of bed and run to the closet and get the sweat suit.  They decide to count to twenty and then run to get the suit.  The person counts (counting, counting), jumps out of bed, runs to the closet (a run, a burst, a dash, hurry), gets the sweat suit and puts it on (the armor), runs back to their bed (back across, back), gets under the covers (under the sand), pulls the covers close (pull it close), holds the blanket tight (hold together) and they wait to feel warm (and wait).

Despite their efforts, they still shiver (the earth still tremors).  The person thinks (and truth is known), that in another room of their house (that somewhere across, a vast sea), they have a thick blanket (the weaver’s cloth, does exist).

The person counts again (counting, counting), thinks of how cold they will feel if they go to get the blanket (thoughts of pain), counts again (counting, counting) and they go for the blanket (and the ship sails).

The journey back and forth to get the blanket, was difficult for the person, and so they don’t think about it (a journey, not recounted, was made).  They get back to their bed, under the covers (and there in the sand), with their cap on (under the roof), with their sweat suit on (with the armor) and under the thick blanket (and the cloth) and they feel peace (peacefulness).