Briefs of the Poem
The poet is unhappy about how truth is not a good virtue any longer these days in our society. People do not want to listen to those who try to tell the truth and the truth itself.
Our society is now configured with falsehood. That is why a person who tries to say the truth will be fought by those who hate it. That is why our society is full of atrocities and evils.
The poet continues as he says people like hypocrisy more than open-heartedness. Those who are wicked are praised but those who struggle to present the truth are hated in our society.
The poet is also concerned about how the truth is slow and deceit runs fast these days. The patient people are slow to make it while the deceivers make it quick.
People hate disciplinarians but they like fakers. They hail pretenders and mock forgivers. However, no matter how long it takes, the truth will prevail.
The poet advises us to embrace good virtues because good virtues have been lost in our society. Involving yourself in a good virtue may seem foolish for fools and may seem unwise for idiots, but the poet advises that if we can make the truth a priority, our society will change for the better.
- How many stanzas does the poem have?
- Mention two things that the truth is in the stanzas.
- Mention two things that people like in the poem.
- Why is the truth slow?
- Comment on the language of the poem.
- Discuss the themes of the poem.
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.
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 thoughts, 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 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 the 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 a 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 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 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.