Post series: Advent: Poem: Christmas observance

Sometimes,
when a person looks out,
at how Christmas,
is observed,
it can seem,
a bit disheartening.

More and more,
people say “holidays”,
rather than “Christmas”. (Have you seen ads lately?)

Christmas specials,
although they might be special,
can often seem,
to have too little Christmas in them.

Everything,
can seem,
to be about shopping,
and decorating,
and running about,
like Christmas is a verb,
and some sort of expectation,
you are supposed to meet.

It is like,
society invented a festival,
and if you don’t do all the things,
you’ll be missing out.

Instead of feeling bad though,
or complaining,
or writing long social media posts,
maybe,
it would be better,
to just observe Christmas,
in a better way,
yourself.

Maybe,
by doing things,
like giving to the poor,
volunteering,
praying,
reading the Bible,
going to church services,
being kind,
and reflecting,
on the purpose of all of this,
you can feel a little different.

Maybe,
by observing Christmas,
in a better way,
you can have more,
of an impact,
on how others observe it.

Maybe,
the best way,
to change things,
is to start,
with yourself.

Understand though,
this isn’t a criticism,
it isn’t,
the opposite,
of what these words,
purpose.

Rather,
hopefully it’s something,
that can help you,
to less see something as bad,
and rather,
focus instead,
on doing something good.

Poem: and she said no

they taught the world
as the wind did blow
but then she stood
and she said no
she knew the words
of long ago
and spoke the truth
that she did know

they said that she
did not speak right
that she spoke words
of dark and night
they said that she
should change her sight
and see the world
in its own light

but she said no
she knew the way
she would not think
as they did say
despite their words
and come what may
in her belief
she’d always stay

they said that she
did speak a lie
that she was wrong
and they knew why
they held their signs
as they did cry,
“you are so wrong,
and we know why”

she left the place
and walked alone
their words did hit
like stick and stone
and as she left
she heard the tone
of that one word
they did condone

but in the light
she felt a sound
it came near her
and moved around
it cut the ties
and all that bound
and she did know
what she had found

Poem with an explanation: this time, things would be different

she had a month
and so resolved
that this time
things would be different

she listened to the birds
she saw the plays
she watched the performers on every corner

through the gloss
she went to the weaver
and bought the cloth
on display

why are they running?
she didn’t understand
but she learned to speak the code

what are they saying?
she didn’t understand
but she learned to speak the code

taking out her map
from its new glass case
she went to the places with names

she listened to the professors
and tried to discern
the direction of the wind

she learned the names
and the stories
of the stars

she left behind
the books she read
and the posters
with the lessons

she made a mold
out of chiseled stone
and walked inside
and shut the door

she looked around
and listened to the wind
and tried to sing
the same song

in the wind
the sand blew
and who she was
was gone

she smiled then
but wasn’t sure
what was real

 

This poem is about fitting in.

In the poem, a woman quits her job and finds a new one.  She has a month though before the new job is to start.  At her last job, she did not fit in.  She decides that this time things will be different and decides to spend the month learning how to fit in.  These ideas are related in the first stanza (she had a month/ and so resolved/ that this time/ things would be different).

One thing she does is learn about entertainment.  She listens to popular music (she listened to the birds), watches popular movies (she saw the plays), and watched popular shows (she watched the performers on every corner).

She also learns about fashion.  She gets magazines (through the gloss) and buys clothes that they advertise (she went to the weaver/ and bought the cloth/ on display).

She also learns about sports.  She finds she doesn’t understand the games (why are they running?/ she didn’t understand) but she learns how to talk about sports (but she learned to speak the code).

She also learns how to talk.  She learns slang as well as jargon related to her job.  She doesn’t completely understand everything, but she learns to speak using the words (what are they saying?/ she didn’t understand/ but she learned to speak the code).

Another thing she does is learn about local places (taking out her map/ she went to the places with names).  As part of this she buys a new cell phone (from its new glass case).  She goes to places she has heard about and places near where she will work.

Additionally, she tries to learn about current events.  She watches the news (she listened to the professors).  She tries to figure out how her new coworkers will perceive the stories (and tried to discern/ the direction of the wind).  She wants to make sure she talks favorably about what they like.

She also learns about celebrities (she learned the names/ and the stories/ of the stars).

In the process of this, she tries to leave behind her old behavior.  She was intellectual, and this did not go well at work.  She tries to leave this behind (she left behind/ the books she read).  She also had a code she lived by.  She realized though that this caused tension at times when she didn’t think the way others thought.  She tries to leave this behind as well (and the posters/ with the lessons).

She becomes a new person (she made a mold/ out of chiseled stone/ and walked inside/ and shut the door).

She makes a very conscious effort to conform to how she believes people are (she looked around/ and listened to the wind/ and tried to sing/ the same song).

In the process, who she was goes away (in the wind/ the sand blew/ and who she was/ was gone).

As a result of all this, the woman fits in at work.  She becomes like her peers.  In one sense, this makes her happy (she smiled then).  On another level though, she realizes she isn’t being herself, but is rather conforming to her perception of society.  This cause a conflict within her (but wasn’t sure/ what was real).

The idea of this poem is to show a person making a very conscious effort to fit in.  The person has a perception of what society expects of her and she tries to conform to it.  She does this because of past bad experiences when she did not fit in.

Although she learns to be like the group, and this brings her some relief, the fact that she has become a mirror of her perception of society and has left her personality behind, causes her some conflict.  She is not sure if it was worth it.

Although this poem show someone going to great lengths to fit in, the ideas expressed can apply to smaller situations.  Readers can think about a time when they learned about something they really weren’t interested in for the sake of being part of a group.  Maybe the watched a movie they didn’t care to see or maybe they started watching a sport they didn’t have an interest in.  The ideas can reflect any time a person did something – even things that weren’t inherently bad – for the sake of being part of a group.

As a note, the poem isn’t about peer pressure.  The group doesn’t put the pressure on the person in the poem, like might happen when a group gets someone to drink alcohol, for example.  Rather, the person perceives society to be different from themselves and puts a pressure on themselves to be like what they perceive.

Poem with an explanation: For the heart, for the mind

The glossy,
there on the carpet of red,
but in the pond,
something different.

Falling down,
with the glance,
and seeing looks,
that aren’t there.

In the fun house,
it isn’t so.

“The white coats,
might be the answer,”
so the voice,
does quietly say.

Hearing the sound,
of the eyes,
there’s nothing like a statue,
to be seen.

But a voice,
from so nearby,
says to see,
what’s really there.

It breaks the glass,
and blows the fog,
and shines a light,
on what is clear.

For the heart,
for the mind,
but for the world,
no more.

Steps and green,
steps and green,
a different white coat,
and different words.

For the heart,
for the mind,
for the one,
who’s beautiful.

 

This poem is about a woman struggling with her weight and body image.

In the first stanza of the poem, the woman compares images she sees to her own.  She sees beautiful women in magazines (The glossy) and she sees beautiful celebrities (there on the carpet of red), but in the mirror (but in the pond) she sees herself as looking different because of her weight (something different).

In the second stanza, the woman’s self-esteem falls as she looks in the mirror (Falling down, with the glance).  She has this feeling that people are looking at her physical flaws (and seeing looks) even though they aren’t (that aren’t there).

In the third stanza, the woman’s view of herself is distorted like the image in a fun house’s mirror.  She sees herself as looking worse than she really does (In the fun house, it isn’t so).

In the fourth stanza, the woman considers having weight reduction surgery (“The white coats, might be the answer,” so the voice, does quietly say. – the white coats representing doctors in lab coats).

In the fifth stanza, the woman feels that she is being judged by the looks of others (Hearing the sound, of the eyes).  She sees an image of perfection in her mind, like a Renaissance era statue, and sees herself as falling short of this ideal (there’s nothing like a statue, to be seen).

In the sixth stanza, something makes the woman reconsider her thoughts.  Somewhere in her life she has heard that value isn’t based on looks (But a voice, from so nearby, says to see, what’s really there).

In the seventh stanza, the woman considers this idea of self-worth.  The more she considers it, the more her view of herself changes.  She stops looking in the mirror (It breaks the glass) and she sees things more clearly (and blows the fog).  The more she considers it, the more she sees where her value really is (and shines a light, on what is clear).

In the eighth stanza, the woman sees her weight loss differently.  She feels that it is important for her health (For the heart), and for her wellbeing (for the mind), but realizes that she isn’t going to do it to satisfy what she believes society is telling her about weight (but for the world, no more.).

In the ninth stanza, the woman exercises and changes her diet (Steps and green).  She also sees a doctor (a different white coat), but for advice on improving her health and not for surgery to improve her looks (and different words.).

In the tenth stanza, the woman loses weight for her health (For the heart) and wellbeing (for the mind), and for herself (for the one), who she now realizes is beautiful (who’s beautiful.).

P. S. If you like poems with explanations, please take a look at Understanding: poems with explanations.

Experimental Poetry Form: V

Today’s experimental poetry form is called V.  It is based on layout on the page.  The form consists of twenty one words in the shape of a V.  It looks as follows:

 

*                                       *

  *                                   *

    *                               *

      *                           *

        *                       *

          *                   *

            *               *

              *           *

                *       *

                  *   *

                    *

The form is read by going down the left side and then up the right side.  Here is an example poem written in the form:

 

Cooking                                 it.

  food                                   taste

    for                                 never

      others,                      will

        smelling                you

          the                    knowing

            aroma,          plate,

              and           a

                as         on

                  you   it

                    put

Poem with an explanation: the shadow, the book, and what she hears

she walked about
and took the pages
from all the books
she saw

she stacked them up
and glued the sides
and then she had a book

the book did say
what she should wear
what she should see
what she should hear
what she should say
what she should do

behind her eyes
a shadow dwelt
and spoke a whisper
that was not heard

she felt the pull
and heard the shouts
and saw the crowd
and feared outside

she felt the pull
the judges spoke
the crowd did cheer
the shadow hid

she put the words
from within her book
into the mouths
of the painted forms

what she should wear
what she should see
what she should hear
what she should say
what she should do

she feared outside
the shadow hid
she made the room
from all the words
and did all that
she heard them say

she held the book
and the read the words
and heard the forms
speak what she said

she held her sign
and joined the crowd
that she did form
while behind her eyes
the shadow hid

 

This poem is about the influence of perceived popular societal culture.  It’s about what a person thinks society is telling them to do.

In a person’s life, they encounter many influences from society that tell them how to live their lives.  Magazines say how to dress.  Television says what movies to see.  Various personalities (TV hosts, radio hosts, etc.) say what is important.  People are told how to live, what they should think, and what is important.

In all of these influences though, is the idea that a person picks to a degree the societal influences they see.  A person decides what magazines to read.  A person decides what shows to watch.  A person decides what websites to look at.  In all of this, a person has an influence in shaping the societal message they come in contact with, even if they are not aware of it.

Sometimes, a person can feel societal pressure.  There is the idea that there is something everyone is doing and that they should do it too.  There is some show everyone is watching.  Some movie everyone is seeing.  Some event everyone is going to.  There are variety of expressions regarding this idea.  Things like, “Social media can’t stop talking about …” or “The show everyone will be talking about tomorrow”.

There are more subtle pressures as well.  If a person sees something, like a movie, being heavily advertised, they might perceive that many people will see it.  If they hear a TV personality talk about a show, they might perceive the show to be important.  If they see characters in a show acting a certain way, they might feel that is how they should act.  In this, there is the fear that they will miss out on something, and won’t be part of the group, if they don’t see the movie or show or act a certain way.

Despite the ideas people often have about the value of being an individual, there is also the idea of being part of the group.  Sometimes conforming can be a strong influence on a person.  Sometimes there is a perceived value in being “like everyone else”.

This poem explores this idea under the backdrop of the idea that the person forms their own view of society.  In the poem, the person feels societal pressure, but this pressure comes from a view of society that they partially shaped.

The first stanza of the poem says, she walked about/ and took the pages/ from all the books/ she saw.  In this stanza, the character in the poem is starting to form her own view of society.  The “books” are all the places she gets influences.  They include TV shows, the news, billboards, the internet and other things.  She sees these things and pulls from them ideas of how she thinks society says she should be.

In the second stanza (she stacked them up/ and glued the sides/ and then she had a book), she over time forms a view of society.  From all the influences she has come in contact with, she has shaped, as it were, a guidebook for how to live.

In her book (in the third stanza), she has perceived how she feels society tells her to dress, what shows and movies to see, what songs to listen to, what she should feel about issues and how she should behave.

Inside her though, in the fourth stanza, the woman has a true personality.  There is the way she feels she should live her life.  This is described as a shadow whispering.  Much of how she feels she should live is at odds with the societal message she has shaped, and therefore she ignores how she feels.

In the fifth stanza, she feels societal pressure.  She feels that everyone is behaving a certain way and feels that she will be left out if she does not behave that way as well.  She feels she has to see the show everyone is seeing.  She has to see the movie everyone is watching.  She has to experience what everyone is experiencing.

In the sixth stanza, this idea is expressed.  She feels the pull of society.  She sees personalities (on TV, radio, etc.) as somehow judging behavior.  These people tell her what is important, what she should believe and how she should act.  She feels that society, in the form of the crowd, agrees with the judges.  In all of this, she hides her true feelings and personality.

The seventh stanza stresses the idea that she shapes her view of society.  In all the things she has seen, she has taken parts from them, and shaped a view of what she thinks society says she should be.  She is not aware that she has shaped this view.

In her view, in stanza eight, society tells her how to dress, what movies and shows to watch, what music to listen to, how she should believe about things and how she should act.

She feels, in the ninth stanza, that not conforming to this view is bad in some way.  She feels like it would make her on the outside.  She wants to fit in.  She wants to do what she perceives society to be saying is cool, popular, and good.  This causes her to hide her true personality and views and live her life the way she believes society is telling her to.

The tenth stanza reiterates the idea that she has had an influence on what she perceives as society.

In the last stanza, she conforms her life to her view of society while she hides her true personality.

The idea of this poem is to examine the idea of perceived societal pressure.  It looks at the idea that people shape their own views of how they think society tells them to be.  It focuses on the pressure as well as on the forming of what the pressure is about.

P. S. As a note, there will not be a new blog post on M. Sakran’s blog of and about poetry and poetry related things on Monday May 28, 2018.