A Poem on Pure Truth: Idle Hands by Deola Adelakun


Brief of the Poem

The poet talks plainly to the lazy person. This is the bitter truth for the lazy when the poet says if you see a lazy child, call him a thief.

The mind of the poet is that laziness will result in stealing. Even, the bible says he who does not work should not eat

One of the habits of the lazy is frowning. The lazy man frowns when cock crows. He will want to have a night to sleep.

Another habit is that he eats what he finds because he is lazy. Everybody is expected to work so that there is something to eat. Faith without physical work is vain.

Men and women, having the opportunity of a happy life are workers and they will become more kindly and less persecuting and less inclined to view others with suspicion.

The taste for the war of hunger will die out of the house of diligent people partly because it will involve long and severe work for all.

The poet encourages and emphasizes diligence does not kill; work refusal is a disgrace. We have to be hard-working and diligent in life.

The poet concludes that laziness is the nation’s enemy. It ends people in slave labor and makes a man poor.

      Practice Questions

  1. What is the nation’s enemy?
  2. What is the name of a lazy child?
  3. The example of the first stanza is ________________

(a) quatrain (b) octave (c) sestet (d) septet

  1. The poet concludes that _________________ (a) we should be serious (b) we should be hardworking (c) we should be indolent (d) we should be playful

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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 using imagery, rhythm,  and sound. It is usually written in verse with lyrical effects.

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To achieve the 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 sound 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 deeds 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 the Marr 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 can bject.
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         Tools to consider in analyzing poems

  • Stanzas/Rhymes: This is the division in the formal pattern of 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.
  1. A two-line stanza is known as a couplet
  2. A three-line stanza is known as a triplet
  3. A four-line stanza is known as quatrain
  4. A five-line stanza is known as a  quintet
  5. A six-line stanza is known as a sestet
  6. A seven-line stanza is known as a septet
  7. 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 join tthat followed
  • 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, nd 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.
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