Briefs of the Poem
‘Gossips’ is a poem that warns against idle talk or rumor, especially about the personal or private affairs of others; the act is also known as dishing or tattling, joblessness, vegetating, hibernating, time-wasting, truancy, time to kill, time to burn, indolence and mouth losing.
The poet presents that there is a tendency that those who talk too much will be liars. He advises gossip, not to slander, and blisters our tongue with backbiting. It is better according to the poet to work hard and reduce your talk. Think much and say little.
We should not be the devil’s agent any longer to cause strife. The poet sees gossip as a slothful, dull, lackadaisical, lethargic, jobless, and flagging person. He continues that an open mouth shows an empty head. The chest with gold and silver will not often widely stand open.
The poet continues that keeping our mouths shut will make the flies go down our throats. By doing this too, no evil speech will come out of our mouths. Gossips of both genders give up the shameful trade of tale-bearing.
It is better to think much but say little instead of saying much and thinking little. By doing this, we should have control over our mouths. A good virtue is not gossip.
- Explain the message of the poem.
- Comment on the poetic devices of the poem.
- ‘The poem is didactic’. Discuss.
- What, according to the poet, should be our attitude?
- Explain the expression: ‘to blow up the fire of strike’.
Knowledge Needed for the Analysis of Poems
Poetry as a piece of literary work, whether spoken or written, expresses and communicates thoughts, ideas, experiences, feelings, and emotions beautifully by means of imagery, rhythm, and sound. It is all written in verse with lyrical effects.
In or drove effect, a poet chooses words that convey meanings through their sounds and that also create images in the readers’ mind. Poetry has music, rhythm, and rhyme.
That is words in a poem are arranged in lines, usually with a repeated rhythm, and sometimes with a rhyme in the end. The ideas in a poem are arranged into lines and stanzas.
To analyze a poem, a reader needs to understand how the poet uses words and sounds devices to create images and to bring out his meaning. Thus, the following elements which give poetry its uniqueness in language and meaning will be treated.
The following are major forms of poetry: narrative poetry, satirical poetry, dramatic poetry and lyrical poetry.
Features of poetry
- Poetry is written in verse, in the form of stanzas and lines.
- Poetry is metrical in the arrangement.
- It is usually lyrical.
- It makes use of figurative language.
- It expresses a thought, ideas, and experiences sometimes in a concise form.
Types of poetry
- Ballad: the word ‘ballad’ is out of current use. The poem derives from the village festival and is not often written but handed down orally from generation to generation, e.g. Ekun iyawo, Ijala Ode, etc.
- Epic: This poem narrates heroes and their deed, e, g Milton’s Paradise Lost, Soyinka’s guidance
- Elegy/Dirge: The poem of lamentation and a song of mourning and a sorrowful event such as the death of a bosom friend, Thomas Gray’s Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard
- Lyric: A poem to be sung to the lyre. It is sung during the burial of the dead or marriage ceremonies, e.g. J. P. Clarks Streamside Exchange
- Ode: An ode is a written or spoken poem addressing somebody or something to mark a special occasion.
- Pastoral poem: this poem celebrates the lives of the country and people.
- Narrative poem: This is a long poem that tells a story, e.g Samuel Coleridge’s The rhyme of the Ancient Mariner.
- Panegyrics/Eulogy: It is a praise poem dedicated to the glorification (praising) of the attributes or qualities of a person, an animal, a place or event, and an object.
Tools to consider in analyzing poems
- Stanzas/Rhymes: This is the division in the formal pattern of a person. It could be two, three, or more lines. Rhyme is the exact correspondence in sound or word-ending, usually at the end of each poem. The arrangements of the stanzas should be considered. Learn how they are arranged below.
- A two-line stanza is known as a couplet
- A three-line stanza is known as a triplet
- A four-line stanza is known as a quatrain
- A five-line stanza is known as the quintet
- A six-line stanza is known as a sestet
- A seven-line stanza is known as a septet
- An eight-line stanza is known as an octave
- Rhythm: This is a metrical movement determined between sounds and events.
- Tone/mood: These are feelings or state of mind of the poet. It is the frame of mind in which the poet was when composing his work.
- Atmosphere: This is the prevalent mood, feelings, and thoughts or actions of people in a poem.
- Enjambment: This is also known as (run-on-line). It occurs when the ideas in a line of verse move from one line to the join that follows it.
- Imagery: It is the use of words to form mental pictures. A poet could use words to draw a picture of situations whose ordinary words cannot convey effectively.
- Metre: This is the arrangement of the stressed and unstressed syllables in a poem to give a particular rhythmic effect.
- The content of the poem: The content is the main body of the poem and you should understand the message and subject matter.
- The structure of the poem: the structure of the poem is to be considered, such as stanzas, verses, and lines.
- Language and style of the poem: The style, figures of speech, and theme are to be considered. The style is the way the language is structured. It is the manner the poem is done. The theme is the central idea and the dominating point of the poem. The figures of the speech are simile, metaphor, personification, hyperbole, irony, euphemism, etc.