Post Series: Poems with Explanations: lights, fairies, and fireflies

city lights sparkle
emerald fairies dance in rows
the fireflies die

This poem is a scene.  In the scene, there are two people in a hospital room.  One is in a bed, and is a patient.  The other is someone close to the patient.  It is night and the patient is sleeping in their hospital bed.  The someone close is awake, sitting in a chair and looking out through a window.  They are on an upper floor of the hospital in a city.

As the someone close looks out the window, they see the lights of the city sparkle (city lights sparkle).  This is stated directly in the poem.  As they look, they move their eyes from looking out the window to the person in the hospital bed.  They see the IVs connected to the person.  The IVs have little green lights that indicate how much medication (or other substance) is in the bags above them.  As the person watches, the numbers change as the amount of medication left decreases (emerald fairies dance in rows).  This is described metaphorically.

As the someone close reflects on what is happening to the patient, they feel a sense of defeat and loss.  The situation seems bad to them (the fireflies die).  This also is described metaphorically.

The poem has a flow from realism to metaphorical fantasy to metaphorical realism (realism in the last part in the sense that it is realistic, but not realism in the sense that they are really seeing it).  This reflects the emotions of the someone close as their still mind moves from the city, to the IVs, to the whole situation.  Without a sense of consciousness, the someone close’s emotions build as they take in the lights they see.  It is almost like a stillness before crying.

This poem is a haiku.  It is written with five syllables in the first line, seven in the second and five in the third.  The first two lines can be seen as being grouped together and the third line is a step away.

Although different things motivated this poem, part of the motivation is related to Freya Pickard of Pure Haiku and Dragonscale Clippings.  As readers will know, Freya was the one wrote the foreword to M. Sakran’s collection of poems with explanations, Understanding: poems with explanations.

Freya has a poetry collection.  It is called Insides.  The book relates to Freya’s ordeal of cancer.  It is officially being launched today.  You can read about it on her blog here: Dragonscale Clippings, and you can buy a copy of the book here: Insides.

As noted above, the haiku above relates to a medical scene.  Although the illness or injury of the patient in the hospital bed is not mentioned, it is severe enough that they are in a hospital, need multiple IVs, someone close to them feels the need to stay with them and their condition is causing the someone close some amount of distress.  Although it isn’t said, the condition of the patient could very well be cancer.  Freya’s book is about an illness from the patient’s point of view.  That idea, helped motive this poem, which is about an illness (or some other condition) from someone close to a patient’s point of view.  The idea was a change in perspective.

Additionally, readers of Freya’s blog, Dragonscale Clippings will notice at times fantasy elements.  This notion of fantasy, helped motivate the idea of the fairies in the second line of the poem above.

Lastly, readers of Freya’s blog, Pure Haiku, will know that it focuses on haiku written in the 5, 7, 5 format.  This motivated the idea to make the poem above a 5,7,5 haiku.

*****

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.

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Post Series: Poems with Explanations: There

There

Sitting there,
as a storm falls,
feeling it all hit.

Laying there,
in the incoherence,
but 4 and 2 aren’t 7.

Covered there,
as the earth shakes,
hoping snow falls.

Walking there,
with a stumble,
it is miles.

Listening there,
hearing the calls,
mist and stone.

Being there,
in disguise,
wondering of return.

 

This poem is about a person with a cold with a fever.  The poem is divided into six stanzas, that cover six moments the person has.

The first stanza starts with the person in the shower.  The person is sick, and so, rather than stand in the shower, as would be normal, the person sits (Sitting there).  They sit on the shower floor, as the hot water falls upon them (as a storm falls) and they take some bit of comfort in the heat (feeling it all hit).

In the next stanza, the person is in bed (Laying there).  It is in the middle of the night and the person has a fever.  They wake up.  Because of their tiredness and their fever they are incoherent (in the incoherence).  Their mind starts to move as they are half awake and half asleep and they can’t make sense of what they are thinking about (but 4 and 2 aren’t 7).

In the third stanza, the person is sitting on a sofa, covered completely with a blanket (Covered there).  The person starts to feel cold and they shiver (as the earth shakes).  As they do, they hope someone helps them and covers them with more blankets (hoping snow falls).

In the fourth stanza, the person is walking outside to get the mail (Walking there).  Because of their cold, they stumble as they walk (with a stumble).  At first they have some thought that the feet they are walking feels like miles, but as they stumble along, they decide that it is in fact miles (it is miles).  The distance they feel, has transcended in some sense, the idea of feeling.

In the following stanza, the person is sitting inside, and they hear their dog outside bark (Listening there).  They realize that their dog wants to go for a walk (hearing the calls).  In their mind, they want to walk their dog (mist).  Their body though is just too tired (stone).

In the last stanza, the person is in their house (Being there).  They don’t look like themselves.  Because of their cold they are dressed differently and just look different (in disguise).  As they are there, they wonder when they will be well again and be themselves (wondering of return).

In terms of form, this poem is six stanzas long.  Each stanza is three lines long.  Each stanza starts with a word followed by there.  This makes each first line of each stanza, two words long.

*****

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: Alone

Alone

Was it a cigarette?
Was it a campfire?
Was it lightening?

There was the spark,
unseen,
in the trees,
far away.

  No one was there.

The shingles caught,
at first a smolder,
then the flame.

  No one was there.

Smoke in the attic,
rafters buckle,
and with some time,
the ceiling caves.

  An alarm sounds,
  no one hears.

The smoke in the living room,
windows shatter,
furniture burns,
and all crumbles.

  There are eyes,
  looking,
  but looking away.

Four walls,
three walls,
two and one,
the pile is there,
and all is gone.

  No one was there.

 

This poem is about a person becoming progressively more ill.  The person is alone and has no one to help them.  It uses a house fire as a metaphor.  This poem examines the idea of an isolated person encountering something where they need help.

The first stanza examines the cause of the illness.  It basically questions whether it started from something small (a cigarette), something medium (a campfire) or something large (lightening).  The questions are not answered in the poem.

The next stanza describes the start of the illness.  It starts small (spark) and unnoticed (unseen) (far away).  As a note, the fact that the illness started small is not meant to imply that it started from something small.  The idea is that even something big (such as a fire caused by lightening) still in essence starts with one point.

The third stanza (No one was there) is the first mention that the person is alone.

The next stanza uses a house as a metaphor for the person.  The stanza says, The shingles caught, at first a smolder, then the flame.  This describes the person first feeling the illness.  At first it is subtle (a smolder), but then it is more (the flame).  This stanza could be looked at as describing a person feeling the start of a fever (shingles representing the person’s head and a smolder and flame representing the heat of the fever).

The fifth stanza is a repeat of the third.  It shows that as the person got more ill, they were still alone.

The sixth stanza continues the progression of the illness.  The fire spreading in the attic could be looked at as representing the symptoms of the illness spreading in the person’s head.  By the end of the stanza, they feel it in their throat.  This is one way of describing the spread of the illness (which continues the way of description from stanza four) but other similar notions of the symptoms of an illness spreading could be applied.

The seventh stanza is like the third and the fifth, in that it shows that no one is with the person.  This stanza uses a somewhat different expression though.  It uses the metaphor of an unheard fire alarm to describe the person calling for help, but getting no response.

The eighth stanza continues the progression of illness symptoms.  One way to look at it, would be to say that the person started feeling something in their lungs (The smoke in the living room), their eyes began to hurt (windows shatter), they felt pain at different parts of their body (furniture burns) and they were overwhelmed by the symptoms (and all crumbles)

The next stanza is like the previous indented ones, in that it expresses the idea that the person is alone.  The stanza expresses the idea that there are people (There are eyes) and these people are observant and aware (looking) but they are just not aware of the person that is ill (but looking away).

One important point about this poem, is that people are not actively ignoring the ill person in the poem.  The person in the poem is isolated either by circumstance or by their own doing.  It is not though, a matter of neglect.  People are not willfully not helping the person, they are simply unaware the person needs help.

The tenth stanza describes the person getting severely more ill (as described by the walls of the house collapsing).  The person is very weak (the pile is there) and eventually, the person dies (and all is gone).

The last stanza is a repeat of the third and fifth.  It say, that the person died alone.

In terms of form, this poem is free verse in the sense that there was not a predefined from applied to it, nor a strict structure applied while it was written.  Despite this though, the poem is not entirely free of structure and still has form elements in it.

The first stanza consists entirely of questions.  Each question starts with Was it.  Additionally, the first two stanzas, start with Was it a, and then a word that starts with the letter c.

The second stanza starts with a line that is relatively longer in appearance than the other three lines in the stanza.  The first line says something, and the next three describe it.  The three short lines are meant to be choppy in a sense so that each point about the spark is made.

The third stanza, is repeated in the fifth stanza, and again repeated in the last stanza.  These stanzas are all indented to show a separation from the other ideas of the poem.

In the tenth stanza, the first two lines are similar.  They show the progression of the house falling in.  The third line breaks the form pattern (it does not continue two walls, one wall).  The idea of the break was to speed up the collapse of the house (and therefore the deterioration of the person).

*****

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: Normalcy

How does this happen,
sitting here,
checking a list,
going through tasks,

none of this is important,
none of it.

There was yesterday,
and that moment,
and those words,
and those eyes.

Now things are normal?
Shouldn’t something happen?
Shouldn’t every second,
every half second,
every division of a second that can be thought of,
be focused?
Shouldn’t it?

There’s guilt,
but what to do,
sit still every moment,
with tears in eyes,
but still,
as the counter ticks,
how can this be,
how can every moment,
not be held,
and gripped,
and never let go?

But what happens,
how does life move,
what if places were switched?

But still,
and then,
there’s a sense of normal,
feeling wrong,
of normal,
feeling like betrayal.

Somehow,
this isn’t it.

 

This poem is about having someone that is loved be diagnosed with an illness.  The poem is written from the perspective of the person that loves them.  The poem examines the feelings that come with figuring out how time is spent – it contrasts the ideas of spending every moment with the ill loved one and spending time in a normal way.

 

In the first stanza, the person will the ill loved one finds themselves going about their daily tasks and something hits them, that with the significance of the illness, none of what they are doing has any real meaning or importance.

 

As they sit, in the second stanza, they remember the diagnosis.  They remember the moment it was said and how they heard the words and looked into the eyes of their ill loved one.

 

In the third stanza, it’s at the same time as the first stanza, the day after the diagnosis.  The person has a feeling: after yesterday, how are they to just go on with their daily business?  They question the idea of things being normal.  The diagnosis happened, and though everything changed, at the moment things look the same.  They feel like they should do something.  They feel that all of their energy should be focused on this one important thing.

 

In the fourth stanza, they feel guilty about going on with normal life, but they wonder about the alternative.  Should they just sit there with their love one feeling sad?  At first this seems like a wrong idea, but then they wonder, that as time ticks away, if this illness might lead to death, shouldn’t they aggressively hold on to every second with their loved one?

 

In the fifth stanza, they examine what may happen though, that people in their situation can go about their days and do normal things.  As they think about this, they imagine their loved one looking sad at the thought and silently asking “What if places were switched?”

 

In the sixth stanza, as the person examines their thoughts, they feel confused and then feel like going about things feels wrong with their loved one being ill.  They feel like doing the normal things of their life is a betrayal of their loved one.

 

In the seventh stanza, the person is sitting there going through their thoughts and they feel like this expression isn’t adequate.

Poem: Sitting here

Sitting here,
wondering,
at 8:51 am,
what will happen,
at 10:00 am,
in the office,
when the name is called,
the weight is taken,
and with a smile,
someone asks,
“So what’s the matter?”

 

Sitting here,
partially knowing,
at 4:05 pm,
what has happened,
at 10:00 am,
in the office,
when the name was called,
the weight was taken,
and with a smile,
someone asked,
“So what’s the matter?”

 

Sitting here,
thinking,
at 4:06 pm,
and wondering about,
this post.

Post Series: The Poems with Explanations Series: Understanding

Today will be the start of a new post series on M. Sakran’s blog of and about poetry and poetry related things.  Past post series have been: The Christmas Series, Seven Apples, The Citrus Series, The Tea Series, and The Orange Series.  This will be The Poems with Explanations Series.

This series will be a series of poems with explanations.  Poems with explanations have appeared frequently on this blog, and this will be a series of them.

The series will start with this post and contain nine other posts.  The series will run from today through Friday March 18, unless something interrupts it.

The idea of poems with explanations, is to help readers understand how poems are written, learn to see symbolism in poems, get ideas for symbolism in poems, and learn how form affects poems.  Hopefully readers will enjoy the series.  Here is the first poem with an explanation:

Understanding

A sledge hammer is swung,
collapsing,
a hope for the bell,
but the crowd roars.

No one counts,
a few slaps to the face,
here’s some water,
then hail stones fall.

A hope for cotton,
there it is,
dabbing a forehead,
pulling back,
the battering ram swings.

There on the ground,
amid the tiny particles,
there’s no darkness.

So there’s spinning,
and revolutions,
and there on the outside,
the former stands.

Looking in,
seeing nothing,
but a tap with a feather,
a shout,
and a force,
and then,
as h taps the shoulder,
an understanding,
and cotton flies.

 

This poem is about understanding the illness or physical pain of others.  Often when someone complains of illness or physical pain, it is easy to be dismissive.  It is easy to say, “That pain’s not real.  It’s not that bad.  It’s just in your head.  Just deal with it.”  It’s easy to be frustrated or annoyed with the illness or pain of another, if that illness or pain causes some inconvenience.  Obviously, these feelings are wrong, however, they can be easy to feel – until of course, a person stops and thinks back to a pain or illness they have had or felt and what it was like to hear dismissive words.  Then a sense of empathy can arise and feelings can change.

The poem uses a number of metaphors to express the main idea.  The main metaphor is that of boxing.  The poem uses boxing to describe an illness someone has and then to describe when they are on the other side of someone else’s illness.

The first stanza describes a boxer being hit and falling down.  The boxer is hoping the round will end, but it doesn’t.

In the second stanza, the boxer, after being hit, is hoping for the referee to count them out, so the match can be over.  Instead, they get to their feet, and go to their corner.  In their corner, their coach slaps them in the face a few times to wake them up and splashes some water on them.  The boxer goes back to fight and gets hit again.

In the third stanza, as the boxer is being hit, they are hoping their coach will throw in the towel.  Instead, when they look at their coach, their coach is using the towel to clear some sweat from their own forehead.  As the boxer glances, they are hit with a hard blow.

In the fourth stanza, the boxer is on the ground, but doesn’t pass out.  They are counted out, but still feel the pain.

In the fifth stanza, years go by and the boxer is now a coach standing on the ringside while their own fighter fights.

As they watch the fight, they see their boxer get hit, but think of the blows as not hurting.  They shout for their fighter to keep going and fight harder.  Then, they have a memory.  They think back to when they fought and what their coach had done.  As they feel a sense of hypocrisy, they feel an empathy for their fighter, and throw in the towel.

Post Series: Seven Apples: Stage Two

Seven Apples Black and White

Above is the second stage of the artwork of the Seven Apples post series.  This artwork is a black and white pencil drawing of the photograph from stage one.  It was done on cotton canvas with a 4b pencil.

Here is a poem inspired by the artwork:

Gray clouds fill the sky,
bright fall colors fade away,
the breaths come slowly

 

This stage two of the artwork contrasts with stage one.  In stage one, the apples were bright and colorful.  In this stage, the apples are gray and muted.  As can be seen in the poem above, this contrast can inspire poetry.  In the poem above, the progression from bright colors to gray colors was transferred to the imagery of a cloudy sky and fall colors.  This imagery was then transferred to the idea of someone experiencing an illness progress.  The two were tied together symbolically.

A poet could see the stage two of the artwork and contrast it to stage one, and come up with different, yet similar ideas, to what was done in the poem above.  For example, a poet might be inspired to write about flowers fading, or a building deteriorating.  To take a different route, a poet might write about makeup being removed.  Another idea might be to view the stage two artwork as in some way representing what is fundamental about the stage one artwork.  A poet who thought this, might decide to write a poem about a person and describe them at their basic level.

Experimental Poetry Form: A series of conversations

This experimental poetry form combines the elements of syllable count, punctuation, stanzas and lines.

There are three stanzas of three lines each.  In each stanza, the first line is eight syllables, the second line is one syllable, and the third line is ten syllables.  Also in each stanza, the first line is a question, the second line is a statement, and the third line is a question.

The idea, is that the poem is like a series of conversations.  The conversations could flow from one to the next in some way, or be individual conversations.

In each stanza, in line one, someone asks a question, in line two, a different person responds, and in line three, the first person asks a question based on the response.  The tone of the poem is affected by the one syllable response in the second line.

Here is an example poem written in the form:

Does there have to be a new test?
Yes.
And so, what is the point of this new one?

Are the test results good or bad?
Bad.
Alright, so what is the next thing to do?

Since that didn’t work, what is next?
Pray.
Could you leave the room now and close the door?