Literary appreciation or analysis is the process where a reader of a poem brings out the central ideas or themes which are in the literary text. For a proper literary appreciation and analysis to be carried out, the researchers and readers should be able to identify literary elements or devices used by the writer in the text. The poet has worked on the language, poetic devices, and figures of speech of the poem so that the researchers and readers can learn more and criticize it for analysis. Read the poem and work on it.
Life is not often a bed of roses
It has ups and downs
Today is hopeful; tomorrow is gloomy
Today is Christmas; tomorrow is the burial
Cheerful today; sad tomorrow
Journey of a mixture of full joy and cry
The naming ceremony is today; mourning tomorrow
Laughter today; frowns tomorrow
Life, a threat of impending evils
Sound health today; coma tomorrow
Life mystery that nobody can fathom
A friend of today that is no more tomorrow!
If you have today; you may not have tomorrow.
Poet: Deola Adelakun
Briefs of the Poem
The poet describes life as something like a sword that has two sides: good and bad. The life that cannot be understood is how it exists and it ends. Our life is like a mirror or a glass cup; so frail and fragile. The life that can be seen today faded away in a very short period.
Life in which there may be hope today but hopeless tomorrow; cheerfulness today but sadness tomorrow; laughter today but frown tomorrow. The poet addresses the issues of life and its existence. The poet is concerned about the kind of life that has a limited time.
Life is a mystery that no one can understand. The poet advises that all should be careful because if you have today, someone else will have tomorrow. The mystery of life is what nobody understands. It has ups and downs; a mixture of birth and burial; joy and cry; laughter and frowns; sound health and coma, etc.
Life is mysterious and it is not something no one can fathom or understand. Life cannot be predicted at all. What happens is what we experience. No one knows what life will bring tomorrow. The poem has some themes which have been discussed for better understanding and knowledge.
Life is a mystery.
The poet sees life as a mysterious one. No one can understand its existence. When we look at this life, we begin to wonder how it is difficult for one to understand this life. The poet broadens the mind of the readers about this life. Remembers us that we must check how we live our lives because this life has two shapes like a sword.
Life is a straight one.
The poet has both ups and downs and it is not a bed of roses. The poem explains that no one can predict what will be happened tomorrow, even when one is laughing today, he or she may begin to weep tomorrow. The journey is not a straight one because it has a mixture of joy and crying. The poet also remembers us that this life is not straight; it has a lot of bends; The opposite of what happens today happens tomorrow.
Life results in death.
The poet calls our attention to what life is. This life comprises celebration and burial, laughter and frowns, sound health, and coma, joy, and cry, and at the end of it death. The poet still remembers us and calls our attention that the result of this life is death. Everybody will die one day. That is what this life is made of. The poet advises us to check how we live our lives.
Language and Poetic Devices
Several languages and poetic devices as well as figures of speech are used in the poem. The poet has developed some of the language and poetic devices of the poem. Read the poem and work on the literary elements of it.
Stanzas and lines
The poem has 6 stanzas and 13 lines. Each line has a two-rhyming line which is a couplet. The stanzas have the arrangement of stressed and unstressed syllables which give a rhythmic effect.
Rhymes and rhyming schemes
The lines of the poem rhyme, that is, have almost corresponding sounds, which give a rhythmic effect. The rhyming schemes are abcdeceefegee
The poet is worried about life and its existence. The state and frame of the mind of the poet is to see this life as something ephemeral and short-lived. The tone is expressed through the poet’s use of language and choice of words.
Figures of Speech
Figures of speech are expressions used to enrich the poem. Several figures of speech have been used such as metaphor, oxymoron, repetitions, euphemism, etc. Read the poem and work on the figures of speech in the poem.
The poet makes use of metaphor, comparing two objects without the use of comparative words. Such metaphors are “It has ups and downs” (line 2), “Journey of a mixture of joy and cry” (line 6)
The poet makes use of oxymorons in which two contrasting or opposing words are used side by side, e.g “Ups and downs” (line 2), “Christmas and burial”(line 4), “Laughters and frowns” (line 8), “Sound health and coma” (line 10)
The poet makes use of repetitions to emphasize his messages. Such repetitions are “life” (lines 1, 9, 11), “Today” (lines 2, 3, 8, 12), “Tomorrow” (Lines 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 10, 12, 13)
The poet makes use of euphemism as he cleverly presents hard and unpleasant information about life in a mild and gentle one. The poet describes evil and death as something unserious.
Word List and Meanings
Gloomy: Sad and hopeless
Impending: An unpleasant event that is going to happen very soon
Threat: The possibility of trouble, danger, or disaster
Coma: Lack of energy
1. Explain the central idea of the poem.
2. What is the rhyming line of the last stanza?
3. Write the rhyming scheme of the poem.
4. Discuss briefly the rhyming patterns of the poem.