Poem with an explanation: Putting away the soapbox

They speak
you hear.

You speak
no one hears.

You bring out your soapbox
and some listen
though so much fewer
than the whole.

Some nod
some shake
nothing changes.

They speak
you hear.

You speak
no one hears.

You bring out your soapbox
and some listen
though so much fewer
than the whole.

Some nod
some shake
nothing changes.

The cycle repeats.

And then one day
you paddle your boat
down a new channel.

They speak
you hear.

You speak
no one hears.

The soapbox though
stays put away.

But then you wonder
of all the others
flowing along
the other channels.

The sky is blue
but they say green
and somewhere inside
it doesn’t make sense.

But soapboxes are heavy
and the channel is smooth
and so you stay

and calmly listen.

 

This poem is about watching political news.

In the poem, a person starts by watching political news they disagree with (They speak/ you hear).

The person feels a sense of disagreement.  They believe that what they are hearing is wrong.  Though no one is listening, they say why it is wrong. (You speak/ no one hears.)  This line also relates to the reach of the media contrasted with the reach of a single person.  The person hears the media, but no one hears the person.

The person wants to express their view to others and correct the information they see as wrong in the news.  They go online on social media (You bring out your soapbox).  As referenced above, they reach a far smaller audience than the media (and some listen/ though so much fewer/ than the whole.)

When they express their view, some people agree (Some nod), some disagree (some shake), but they cause no change in either group (nothing changes).

The next four stanzas repeat the first four.  This is to emphasize the idea that the person keeps going through this.  They watch news they disagree with, they go online to say why they disagree, supporters agree with them, other people oppose, and they cause no change.  This notion is said more explicitly in the following stanza (The cycle repeats.)

The person gets tired of the cycle and so they change the channel (And then one day/ you paddle your boat/ down a new channel).  They find a news channel they agree with.

At first things are the same.  The media has a reach greater than the person (They speak/ you hear.  You speak/ no one hears.)

Since the person agrees though, they don’t feel the need to express their ideas (The soapbox though/ stays put away.)

The person then starts to wonder though (But then you wonder).  They think about all the people watching news that they believe is biased and inaccurate (of all the others/ flowing along/ the other channels).

The sense of how inaccurate the information is, is expressed in the first two lines of the next stanza (The sky is blue/ but they say green).  The person struggles with the idea that first, in their view biased information is being spread to so many, second, that so many people don’t see the information as biased, and third, that there isn’t much the person can do about it.  This doesn’t make sense to the person.

The person at first feels like they want to correct the information they see and speak up about it.  This becomes tiring though (But soapboxes are heavy).  They find the new news they are watching agreeable (and the channel is smooth), and so they stop watching the other news they disagree with (and so you stay) and they feel calm (and calmly listen).

The poem expresses the idea that listening to news that a person disagrees with can be a tiring experience.  It can feel tiring for a person to want to correct much of what they hear and it can feel bad for a person to think about the biased information being disseminated and others not seeing it as biased.  Because of this, some people simply stick to news they agree with.  It can be a calmer more comfortable experience.

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Poem with an explanation: through the lens

through the glass
the mirror speaks
and says the words
you want to hear

the world is known
through the lens

“What do you mean,
you don’t see?”

 

This poem is about news that leans one way or the other on the political spectrum.

In the poem, a person watches news that is on the same side of the political spectrum as they are.  They hear something they agree with.  This is symbolized by a mirror saying words a person wants to hear.  A reflection of the person’s views are presented to them.

The second stanza provides a commentary.  It says, the world is known/ through the lens.  This means that what a person knows about the world is influenced by how the information is presented.

In the third stanza, a person is taken aback when they encounter someone who perceives the world differently.  In this case, the person encounters someone who watches news that is on the opposite side of the political spectrum as what they see.  Because of this, the person encountered has received a different presentation of events and therefore perceives things differently.  The original person finds this confusing for two reasons.

First, they perceive the news as fundamental.  They don’t see a political leaning in the presentation.  Additionally, they don’t see how a political leaning could influence facts or their presentation.

Second, they had not considered that others might see news presented in a different way.  They had not considered that others might see the world through a different lens.

Because of these two reasons, they can’t understand why a person they encounter knows different facts than they do and why they see those facts differently.

Poem with an explanation: majority and minority

so five times ten plus one does cheer the day
and by the sides the less by two does cry
and those with one do say the world is right
while those beside do say the thought does lie

 

This poem is about voting.  It looks at it from the viewpoint of the minority in a vote.

In the poem, some vote has just been cast.  One side won and another side lost.

The side that won had fifty percent of the vote plus one vote (five times ten plus one).  They are very happy about what has happened (cheer the day).

The other side lost by one vote.  To win they would have needed two more votes (if the other side did not lose any votes).  They are not in the majority and so are described as being by the sides.  Their lack of majority is described as being less by two.  They are unhappy with what has happened (does cry).

The side that won (those with one) applauds the process.  They believe in the process and that it led to the right outcome (do say the world is right).

The side that lost (those beside) disagree with this idea (do say the thought does lie).

This poem looks at the idea of voting from the minority point of view.  It looks from the perspective of those who barely lose a vote.  It questions the idea that a majority supporting something implies that the idea supported is right in some inherent way.  It amplifies the idea by having the majority wining by just one vote.

This notion came come up in politics when a side that loses questions the outcome.  They can believe strongly in their point of view and therefore question the idea that if the majority feels the other way, that things should be the other way.  Despite losing the vote, they still believe they are right.

This notion can come up on both sides of the political spectrum.  If a side believes themselves to be right, they can question the process if it leads to an outcome they don’t agree with.  They can feel that despite the majority opposition, their minority point of view still is valid and still should be in effect.

This poem uses the form mentioned in the poetry essay: iambic meter from yesterday’s post.  The poem is one stanza written in iambic pentameter with lines two and four rhyming.

Poetry essay: Political poetry

One subject that can be found in poetry is politics.  This essay looks at the idea of if a poet should write about politics in poetry, and if so, how.

There are a number of reasons a poet might choose to write about politics.  It could be a poet feels strongly about a certain issue and wants to express that.  A poet might want to influence readers to see their point of view on an issue.  A poet might want to support a particular political philosophy or candidate.  A poet might want to support a change in society.

In writing poetry about politics, there are some things to consider.

First, politics can be an emotional subject.  It can sometimes be draining for a poet when they really want to express an idea about something they feel strongly about.  Also, the tone of political poetry can sometimes be one of persuasion, refutation, or argument, and this can be draining as well.

Second, politics, by its nature, can be divisive.  Some readers will agree with a point of view and others will disagree.  The audience will not only be limited, as it would be with any poetry subject, but it will also have readers opposed to the message expressed.

Third, politics is a timely subject, which means the poet will have to keep up with current events to write about it.

Politics can be an interesting idea for a poet to write about.  Sometimes a person feels strongly about something, and there is also something about having the chance to influence society through ideas and words.

In writing about politics, a poet could choose along the spectrum of being subtle to being direct.

The pros of subtle political poetry are that a poet can express an idea in a way that might not seem political.  For example, if a poet felt a certain way about minimum wage laws, they could write poetry that either focused on groups that benefit from them or groups that don’t, in such a way that they get the idea across without seeming to be supporting a political idea.

For example, if a poet thought minimum wage levels should be raised, they could write a poem about a worker at a minimum wage job who can’t pay their bills.  They could focus on the plight of the person, while only subtly referencing the reason.

Alternatively, if a poet thought minimum wage levels shouldn’t be raised, they could write a poem about a small business that went out of business, in part because of worker salaries.

In both these situations, the poet would be expressing their point of view, but in such a way that it wouldn’t come across as supporting a political idea.

The downside of subtle poetry, is that if it is too subtle, the message can get lost.  A poet might not get their point of view across.

If a poet decided to be direct in their poetry about politics, the benefit would be that they could get their message across in a clear way.  It would be clear to the reader what the poet believes.

The downside to this is that it could alienate readers and invite argument.  If a poet is direct about a political belief, some readers won’t like their point of view and others may argue about it with the poet.

Direct political poetry might work better in situations where a poet is speaking to an audience that shares the same beliefs.  The idea is to reach people who think the same way.

Subtle political poetry might work better in situations where a poet is speaking to an audience that is along a spectrum of disagreement with the view of the poet.  It could be the readers have not thought about the issue, or that they are slightly to mildly opposed to the point of view of the poet.  Subtle poetry could be a way to reach them.

There are a number of reasons a poet might write political poetry.  Before doing so though, a poet should consider the drawbacks of it, as well as how direct they want to be.

Poem with an explanation: The rain will come

The rain will come,
  weeds will grow,
  hairstyles will be ruined,
  clothes will be damaged,
  workers will be late,
  events will be cancelled,
  people will catch colds,
  roads will deteriorate,
  homes will have damage,
  cars will have accidents,
  homeless people will suffer.

 

The rain will come,
  plants will grow,
  animals will drink,
  things will look better,
  homes will be cleaned,
  allergens will decrease,
  air will be cooler,
  farmers will benefit,
  people will feel calmer,
  pollution will go down,
  people will have water.

 

This poem is symbolic of political discussions.  In the poem there is an issue: the rain will come.  This issue symbolizes political and social issues in society.

In the poem, there are two sides: those who think the rain coming will be bad and those who think the rain coming will be good.  The first stanza presents the side that thinks the rain will be bad, and the second stanza presents the side that thinks the rain will be good.

Each side presents ten points to support their view.  Essentially, each side is making truthful statements, however, they are speaking in certainties (will) rather than possibilities (may).

Generally speaking, each side presents stronger statements as they go.  For those against the rain and for the rain, the statements they make, generally, are more significant as they present their side.

Additionally, neither side makes any reference or acknowledgement of the other side or their view.  Each side presents its case unilaterally.

The poem has the general form that each side says something will get better or worse.  They present their views in very similar styles.

This poem expresses the feel that can sometimes come in political debates.  Each side in the poem speaks in certainties, is consistent in their view, does not acknowledge the opposing view, speaks to persuade, and speaks in a consistent style.

The poem symbolizes the idea that in political and social issue discussions, each side examines the same idea and yet sees it completely differently.  It also expresses faults that can happen when issues are discussed.