A Poem on Truth and Life: Integrity by Deola Adelakun

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Briefs of the Poem

The poem appreciates truth though it may seem foolish and people may not appreciate it. As integrity is the quality of being honest and strong about what you believe to be taught.

The poem addresses how people in our society disregard good points that others are making. When they notice that the truth is too harsh for them and it can block them from doing their atrocities, they will not accept it.

The poet encourages those receiving persecution, misrepresentations, ridicule, criticism, etc. in the process of accomplishing a task as traces of how people disregard truth in our society.

He then advises people that irrespective of persecutions, misrepresentations, ridicule, or criticism they receive, the truth must be their watchword. They should not relent and be discouraged.

Anyone who is not dealing in truth deals in wickedness. If we cover up with lies, our conscience will be spoilt. When you try to manipulate truth on earth, remember that heaven is looking at us.

The truth may seem slow but one day, it will prevail and put us together as one because integrity is also a state of being united as one.

Integrity is the pillar of achieving in life and it is a virtue that must be presented in our society. Lack of integrity, truth, and honesty brings about moral decadence in our society.

Practice Questions

  1. Discuss the message of the poem.
  2. Explain the tone and mood of the poem.
  3. Explicate some themes of the poem.
  4. Comment on the vernacular use of the language of the poem.

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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 this effect, a poet chooses words that convey meanings through their sounds and that also create images in the readers’ minds. 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 three seeds, 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 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.
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         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.
  1. A two-line stanza is known as a couplet
  2. A three-line stanza is known as a trip let
  3. A four-line stanza is known as a 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, feeling, and thought of 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 t   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 dominatingpointg of the poem. The figures of the speech are simile, metaphor, personification, hyperbole, irony, euphemism, etc.
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