Bilingual Poem: Dear Past

Dear Past,

That future you imagined …

it isn’t here yet.

Signed,

Present

 

Querido Pasado,

Ése futuro usted imaginado …

le no es aquí aún.

Firmado,

Presente

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Poem: Dear cold weather

Dear cold weather,

 What are you doing here?

 Don’t you know it’s March?

 You sort of overstayed your welcome.

 Not cool.

Your friend,

Coatless Today

Experimental Poetry Form: letter

Today’s experimental poetry form is called letter.  It based off of layout on the page.  The form is arranged like the elements on the front of a letter.

On the front of a letter there are three elements: the return address, the sending address, and the stamp.  They are laid out as follows:

*****                                                                               *****
*****                                                                               *****
*****                                                                               *****

 

                                                  *****
                                                  *****
                                                  *****

 

 

The return address is in the upper left corner, the sending address is in the center, and the stamp is in the upper right corner.

The return address and sending address elements both have three lines corresponding to: name, street address, and city and state.  The stamp element has three lines because of its size.

From the point of view of the person receiving the letter, the sending address is read first, the return address is read second, and the stamp is noticed third.

For the poetry form, there are three stanzas, each with three lines.  Each line has five syllables.  The first stanza is in the center, the second stanza is in the upper left, and the third stanza is in the upper right.

Here is an example poem illustrating the form.  Remember, the center stanza is read first, the upper left stanza second, and the upper right stanza third.

Alone in the house                                                         In a field of stones
everything feels still                                                       emptiness gathers
and time moves so slow.                                               to speak silently.

 

                                                  You’ve been gone so long
                                                  you’re now an image
                                                  a thought in the mind.

Experimental Poetry Form: two, three, four

This experimental poetry form is called two, three, four.  It is based off of the number of letters in words.

The form has one stanza with three lines.  Each line has three words.  The first word in each line has two letters, the second word in each line has three letters, and the third word in each line has four letters.  Here is what the form looks like with *’s representing letters:

** *** ****
** *** ****
** *** ****

Here is an example poem:

As fog came,
so did fear,
to the mind.

Post Series: Poems with Explanations: With regret

Dear S.,

Alright, how does this start?  How do these words come out and float around, but not hit the target (but still hit the target)?  You know what this is going to say.  Why else would this be here?

It failed.

Wow, there’s a finality to that.  There it is.  It failed.  The coin is thrown in the pond.  It’s gone.

What are you thinking now?  Your mind is probably going through a whole kaleidoscope of things.  All those colors blending.

You have questions.  You’re probably upset.  If you’re wondering, there is an explanation.  But … does it really matter?  Who cares if this can be justified?  It just is.

There’s a desire here to apologize.  Something though, makes it feel condescending.  After all this … a little sorry?  The feeling of not wanting to hear it is understandable.

There isn’t anything that can make this better than it is.  There’s really no way to glue the vase back together.  Please know, whatever you feel should be felt here – it is.

With regret,

A. P.

 

This poem is written as a letter.  A. P. is writing a letter to tell S. that something failed.  A. P. is regretful and sorrowful but realizes that words are lacking in this situation.  A. P. is trying to express feelings and empathy, but is struggling.

The name S. simply stands for Someone.  The name A. P. stands for A Person.  While at first glance, this may seem a little bit underwhelming, the idea here was just to make these people nondescript.  They have no age, no gender, no nationality.  They are blank in some sense.  The idea was to not have the people distract from the letter.

The letter starts with Dear.  Starting a letter with To is impersonal.  Dear can be personal or impersonal depending on the situation.  In this case, there is a slight personal quality to it.

A. P. starts by asking a question. A. P. is trying to signify a difficulty in expressing something. They aren’t getting to the point right away.  Despite this though, in some way, by starting off point, A. P. is signifying to S. that the information is going to be bad.  The idea is that a person might not talk around a point, if the point were good.

The next sentence, again, reflects A. P.’s difficulty with expression.  A. P. wants to say something, without saying it.

In the next two sentences, A. P. realizes the conclusion from above – that not directly saying something, is implying that the something is going to be bad.  There is a presumption here, that A. P. not only realizes that S. sees this, but also, that S. knows what this letter is referring to.  A. P. realizes that S. has figured out the unspoken subject of the letter.

In the next paragraph, A. P. is short and direct.  A. P. gets to the point.  In the first paragraph, A. P. was struggling to say something.  Here, A. P. has forced themselves to say what they were afraid to say before.  A. P. doesn’t say what failed.  A. P. understands that S. will know what A. P. is referring to, without A. P. saying what it is.

In the next paragraph, A. P. writes again like the first.  There is almost an aside.  There is almost a commentary on the words of the letter.  A. P., in the first sentence, realizes that the paragraph before was like jumping from something.  There’s a finality to it.  There’s a sense, that once the jump is made, there is no way to go back.  That is how A. P. feels about directly saying that the something in question failed.  A. P. states the fact again and then uses a metaphor of a coin being thrown in a pond as an analogy.

After this, A. P. realizes that S. is impacted by the news that this something failed.  They wonder what S. is thinking about it.  They realize that there must be a mixture of different thoughts and emotions.

In the next paragraph, A. P. tries to express the idea that the mixture of things that S. is thinking and feeling, really doesn’t matter in a sense.  A. P. feels that the finality of the something failing, is so final, that there really isn’t any sense of talking about it.  It would be like analyzing something that will not be done again, what would be the point?

At this point, A. P. wants to apologize.  A. P. feels at fault for the failure.  A. P. resists this though.  They almost envision an upset S. saying, “After all this … a little sorry?”  A. P. realizes that S. will see the sorry as insufficient, and so much so, that it might be angering, and so A. P. doesn’t write it.

In the last paragraph, A. P. again expresses the finality of what has failed.  They use the analogy of trying to glue a shattered vase back together.  A. P. realizes that S. wants A. P. to feel something about this.  A possibility might be regret.  A. P. writes that they are feeling what they think S. would want them to feel.

A. P. then ends the letter expressing regret.

This poem is written as a letter, but still has poetic elements.

As mentioned above, the writer and receipt of the letter are only referred to with initials.

A. P. asks rhetorical questions.

Almost all of the letter has an indirect quality to it.

Analogies are used.

There are ten parts to the letter.

There is the idea that what failed, is never said.

A. P. doesn’t directly refers to themselves in the letter, with the exception of the ending.

Although unintentional, it does turn out that every letter of the alphabet was used at least once in the letter.

*****

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.

A poem with an explanation: a letter

A handwritten letter
with a struggle for expression
and a sense of importance
written with white lead
on white paper.

 

The first aspect of this poem is the title: “a letter”.  “a” was chosen rather than “the” to have a sense of indefiniteness.  This letter is seemingly one of a group and does not at first stand out.  Both “a” and “letter” were not capitalized to express a sense of subtlety and meekness.  Both of these imply that in some sense, the letter is not meant to stand out

The first line mentions that the letter is handwritten.  This is to evoke an image that has some sense of past: the letter is not typed on a computer.  Second, it is meant to suggest to the reader the image of someone sitting at desk writing in long hand.  Thirdly, even though the image created may be one of someone writing a letter, the line indicates that the letter has already been written.  The letter is already finished.

The second and third lines go together to create a mood.  The letter writer had trouble finding words to get across the importance of what they were writing.  The words “struggle” and “sense” are meant to impart a sense of emotion.  It is as if the letter writer was feeling somewhat overwhelmed as they wrote.  Another point is that knowing the tone of the letter implies that the letter has been read, however, it does not indicate who has read it, a separate reader, or the letter writer.  It is unclear whether the poem is describing the thoughts of the letter writer, or the impression of the letter reader.

The fourth and fifth lines go together and have literal and metaphorical implications.  In a literal sense the letter writer wrote something that a reader would not be able to read: white text on white paper.  Secondly, the letter writer used a pencil to write as indicated by the word “lead”.  This adds to the difficulty that a reader would have in reading the letter because pencil lead would be lighter than ink and would fade.  In a metaphorical sense, a letter written with white lead on white paper is meant to imply that the letter writer was hesitant to communicate: they wanted to express something, but they were afraid of what the receipt of the expression would imply.  Secondly, “lead” is meant to imply heaviness as the word “lead” in “pencil lead” is pronounced the same as the metal “lead”.  This idea relates to the struggle for expression that the writer was having.

The image in this poem is of an emotion where there is difficulty and hesitancy to communicate it.  It meant to illustrate this broader idea.