Artwork to inspire poetry: a broken hazelnut without its shell

a broken hazelnut without its shell

Above is an artwork of a broken hazelnut without its shell.  It can inspire poetry.  A poet could write about:

  • The idea of something being broken. The poet could look at the idea of broken as being negative or positive depending on the situation.

  • The idea of pieces. A poet could focus on pieces of something, either physical or pieces of an idea.

  • The idea of putting something back together. The poet could focus on something physical or look at the idea symbolically.

Here is an example poem:

The weight did fall,
the foot did break,
held together,
in the plaster.
Six weeks pass,
steps are climbed,
the day does come,
when there is breath.
Seeing the familiar,
looking so different.
Doing something basic,
with such effort.
Walking without thought,
and thinking of it.

Poem with an explanation: the frame of steel

The artist’s frame,
there made of steel,
did walk about,
on clouds of snow.

It moved with ease,
and flew with wind,
its eyes were closed,
but it could see.

But steel was not,
what it did seem,
its core was clay,
that was not seen.

And there with sound,
a reed did swing,
and struck the frame,
there made of steel.

The steel did crack,
as did the clay,
and eyes closed tight,
and could not see.

And from the clouds,
the frame did fall,
and hit the stone,
that was below.

And it could see,
all that it was,
as with its eyes,
it say the clay.

And there with pain,
it crawled along,
its eyes could see,
the stone around.

And years did pass,
as it did move,
to the far pool,
that was so near.

And there it laid,
and caught its breath,
and hoped the time,
would heal the steel.

And suns did come,
and moons did go,
as it looked up,
to stars above.

And then it came,
out from the pool,
with open eyes,
it saw the land.

And it did walk,
upon the stone,
and with each step,
thought not of clouds.

And then the day,
did come with steps,
when it could fly,
as it once did.

It took a step,
and in the air,
it went up to,
the clouds above.

But now it walked,
with careful steps,
with eyes that saw,
the land below.

It saw the steel,
but knew the clay,
it flew in clouds,
but knew the stone.


This poem is about a person losing a sense of invincibility.  It the poem, the person feels physically invincible.  They then break their leg.  This shows them their fragility and brings them humility.

In terms of form, the poem is made of stanzas that have four lines each.  Each line has four syllables.

In the first stanza, the person is describe as an artist’s frame that’s made of steel.  The frame alludes to the person’s skeletal structure of bones and is an allusion to a frame an artist might use to make a clay model.  It is made of steel, which symbolizes the person’s perceived strength.

At this stage, the person moves effortlessly.  They move about without a care for their movement.  This is described as did walk about, on clouds of snow.

In the second stanza, this notion is continued.  The person is moving with ease and they move as though they flew with wind.  The person is carefree in their movement.  This is described by the fact that their eyes were closed.  The person moves though, as almost in a dream.  Though their eyes are closed, they can see themselves flying through the clouds.

The third stanza starts the moment of reality.  Although the person thought they were strong, they did not realize their physical weakness.  The steel the person thought they were made of, had a core of clay.

In the fourth stanza, the person has an injury.  To highlight the person’s vulnerability, the thing that hurts the person is a reed.  They were not hurt by a hammer or stone or iron, but rather by a plant that bends.  This symbolizes the idea that sometimes something small can cause a bone to break.

In the fifth stanza, the person’s bone breaks.  The steel cracks and so does the clay.  Before, the person’s eyes were closed because they were carefree.  Now the person’s eyes are closed in pain.

In the sixth stanza, the injury causes the person to fall from their carefree place and back to earth.  Rather than being in clouds, they are on stone.

In the seventh stanza, the person realizes their internal weakness.  They realize they are made of clay.

In the eight stanza, the person moves like a person with a broken bone.  They are in pain and they crawl.  They have a new understand of the ground as they are closer to it in their movements.

In the ninth stanza, the person struggles to find relief.  It takes them, metaphorically, years to get to a nearby pool where they can find respite.

In the tenth stanza, the person finds this place of respite.  They rest and hope that with time they will be healed.

In the eleventh stanza, time passes (as described by the sun and moon moving).  The person is aware of time as they heal and they look up to the sky to see it pass.

In the twelfth stanza, the person feels better enough to start moving again.  The person now is more grounded (in multiple metaphorical ways).  They see the land around them and are aware of where they are.

In the thirteenth stanza, the person is in a humbled place and although they are healed, they can’t move yet like they did before.  The person is grounded where they are and they don’t think of moving in a carefree way.

In the fourteenth stanza, the person finally feels totally better.  They can move like they once did.

In the fifteenth stanza, the person physically gets back to where they were before their injury.

In the sixteenth stanza, although the person is physically as they were before, they are not emotionally.  They are humbled.  They now move carefully and realize where they had been.

In the last stanza, the person realizes they have some physically strength, but they understand that it only goes so far.  While they have a strong ability to move, they don’t forget what it was like not to be able to.  They have come to understand their own weakness.


P. S. Hopefully you liked the poem with an explanation above. If you did, you might check out M. Sakran’s eBook Understanding: poems with explanations.  It is available for a price of $0.99 (plus tax where applicable) and contains twenty poems with explanations.  Currently, you can read the forward, introduction, the first poem, the first explanation, the second poem and part of the second explanation from the site where the link goes.  If you like what you read, please consider purchasing a copy.

Poem with an explanation: Pound ounce

Pound ounce,
pound ounce,
the eyes close,
in silence.

Pound ounce,
pound ounce,
the statue changes,
its expression.

With the chain,
around the leg,
the rock nearby,
seems like the moon.

In the shoes,
for the grain of sand,
the hands are held,
and eyes open.

Pound ounce,
pound ounce,
waiting for the day,
without pound ounce.


This poem is about a person who hurt their foot.  They hit their foot on something and are in considerable pain days later.  They have not sought medical attention, and, despite the pain, they believe their foot is not broken.  They try to go about their day as best they can.

When the person walks, they step heavily with their good leg in attempt to move themselves forward and support their weight.  They step lightly with their hurt foot because of the pain.  The heavy step is symbolized with the weight “pound” (which also symbolizes the pounding of the step into the ground) and the light step is symbolized with the weight “ounce”.  Each “pound ounce” set (except for the last) refers to the person taking a step forward.

In the first stanza, the person takes two steps.  They feel pain and close their eyes as they cringe.  They don’t make a noise, as holding the sound in, in some way, holds the pain in.

In the second stanza, the person takes two more steps.  The person, being relatively immobile, is described as a statue.  Their facial expression changes because of the pain.

In the third stanza, the idea of relative distance is examined.  The person has trouble walking.  This is symbolized as them having a chain around their leg.  Because of this, something that is nearby seems as though it is far away.  This is symbolized by the idea of the moon.  The moon looks nearby when it is bright and full, almost as if it were a few hundred feet or a few miles away.  In reality, this is an illusion, and the moon is very far away.  It looks close, but is at a considerable distance.  This relates to the object the person wants, that is in reality close, but because of their ailment is as if it is a considerable distance away.

The person’s condition has taught them empathy.  The person, so to speak, is “walking in the shoes” of someone who is disabled.  They are experience what having a disability is like, even if only for a brief time (for the grain of sand – as in one grain of sand falling in an hour glass, which represents a very small amount of time).  This causes them to feel a connection to the disabled (the hands are held) and they open their eyes (metaphorically) to their situation.

In the last stanza, the person takes two more steps, and in their pain, they feel like they are waiting for the day when the pain is gone and they can walk normally.