(A) With these instructions:
For each of poems you have written:
(1) Write where you got inspiration from?
(2) Which author and poem did you refer to when writing this poem?
(3) What did the poem mean to you personally? Did you enjoy it? Why or why not? How does this poem relate to your world and your life?
(4) What techniques did you use for this poem and do you think your readers understand what you are trying to convey to them?
(5) How effective do you think your poem was? How did you find the whole process of writing each poem?
(6) How is the structure and voice of the poem?
IMPORTANT: The commentary for each poem must be about 260 words each
Using this below:
1) The Night the Crystals Broke
This ballad begins
On a far-away shore
A land she knew so well.
This land was green, filled with tropical sun
And her house was filled with mirth
Which also lay etched on their faces
Then the fires came
The smoke from the Ark
And the disintegration of the star
Quick, Quick Quick,
Quick Quick Quick
Her belongings stuffed
In a bag the size of her heart
Faster Faster Faster
When the arms of that Statue
Commentary: This ballad conveys the powerful theme of anti-Semitism and the experience of immigration. The speaker need not be anyone famous, although it seems that the speaker might be referring to an ancestor. Musing on the immigrant experience from the perspective of generations later conveys a powerful message of freedom and hope. Although the ideas could be developed better, and it has an irregular meter that poses rhythmic problems, the poem does fulfill the basic tenets of a lyrical ballad. The repetition of words like “quick” and “fast” complement the tone of tension that pervades the poem.
2) Tough Love
Recalling the way you smelled
When I first beheld your breath,
I now cry more than you when your body
Separated from mine
For the last time.
Recalling the way you cried
When I first put you on the bus
I now laugh more than you when
You burst out
After your first A.
Seeing you now
When your eyes are red and your breath reeks
I now know not what to do
You shun me
You need me.
Commentary: This is a free verse quatrain poem, and it is divided strictly into three stanzas of four lines each. The poem is rather brief but pithy; it captures the speaker’s emotions rather than attempting at narrative. As a mother, the speaker has been through her child’s ups and downs. The child’s current state is troubling for the mom, who concludes, “you need me.” The poet uses repetition skillfuly, as with beginning each stanza with a progressive verb ending in ??"ing, which suggests ongoing activity. The poet’s issue has yet to be resolved, and this lack of resolution is conveyed in the diction of the poem.
3) Shoe Sonnet
The shoes I see they stare at me all day
All sorts of colors that I love to see
Some begging to be worn so I can play
Some others that just shout please look at me!
The stunning array of soles in the world
Is not unlike the fields of wild flowers
From seed to bud to stem to leaf unfurled
So much like superheroes with powers
To look upon the leather and the heels
And the sequins and the sparkles they bear
Each pair, distinct, unique in its appeals
I need, I want, to have them all to share
The key to happiness is the right shoe
Even those who wear one pair know it’s true.
Commentary: This seemingly silly sonnet nevertheless keeps to the traditional Shakespearean structure, which demands iambic pentameter and a structured ABABCDCDEFEFGG rhyme scheme. Moreover, the sonnet is developed according to the requisite thematic structure: which entails the opening metaphor, the development of that metaphor, and a resolution that sometimes involves a sort of “twist.” The metaphor here is cloaked well, but it seems to be poorly developed. It seems as if the poet wants to compare shoe diversity to the diversity in humanity. Yet the ultimate goal is not accomplished as well as it could be by the final couplet.
4. Haikus celebrate
Frivolous human beings
Shunning the dour
Cheerful loud squawking
Dancing when the rain arrives
Freely flying now
Skeletons and death
Monstrous shadows in the night
Commentary: This trio of haikus offers a delightful insight into the incredible potential and range of this poetic form. The first of the haikus, “Haikus Celebrate” is a reflexive celebration of the poetic form, which in turn celebrates the whimsical or “frivolous” side of human nature. “Shunning the dour,” the speaker suggests that the purpose of a haiku should be to uplift and energize the soul. A haiku may seem frivolous, but that side of human nature must be explored. The second haiku of this collection is called “Parrots,” but the titular bird is mentioned nowhere in the verse. Instead, the poet paints a lively portrait of the brightly colored creatures. Because it is about nature, this is the only haiku of the trio that resembles traditional Japanese haiku. Finally, we have “Skeletons.” “Skeletons” is a strange haiku that seems gothic at first, but offers a clever and amusing twist at the end.
7. Blank Verse/Iambic Pentameter
Howling winds swept through the open pasture
A horse it whinnied and it was afraid
Its master ran to gather up supplies
The funnel, it approached them far too fast.
Before the man could reach the general store
The skies had broken open with the rain
Already the plains back home were flooded.
The horse it struggled in the growing mud
Inside the house his baby was screaming
Feeling more its mothers and father’s fear
Than its own reaction to nature’s way
Such is the destructive power of fear.
Commentary: This blank verse is penned in iambic pentameter, with rhythmic lines of ten metric feet each. The theme of fear emerges in this poem from the start, and diction like “afraid,” and “fear” support the main theme. The poet explores multiple types of fear, too: the animal’s basic fear of an impending storm; the fear of the parents for children, and also the existential threat that fear creates in the psyche of human beings. Imagery and motif of an impending storm also shape the prevailing tone of the poem. A storm is not in itself destructive, but fear certainly is. The iambic pentameter ensures a compelling rhythmic structure that is not undermined by the use of rhyme. Blank verse aids the sense of tension.
April’s war cry
Into the darkness, the mud clawing their boots
Marching forward as one, like bees
Swarming, a long Million Man March
Fighting for rights, freedoms, principles
Beware the Ides of March
When Caesar died
A March of Dimes is just a charity
Who are we helping
On our long march to the grave?
Commentary: This is a free verse poem that capitalizes on the word “march,” and its many connotations in the English language. The month of March is named after the Greek god of war, Mars, making the imagery of the soldiers in war especially meaningful in this poem. References to the Million Man March’s fight for freedom and liberty then link the impetus for the military endeavor with the ideology behind the civil rights movement. Therefore, the poet suggests that many wars, however messy, are fought to preserve the rights and freedoms of the people they defend. The poem takes a radical thematic turn, as reference to the charity March of Dimes leads to a frank discussion of death. A nihilistic tone is therefore juxtaposed with one that was, just a few lines earlier, peaceful.
From the television they spoke
Action to provoke
In her tormented mind
All thoughts did evoke
She was one of a kind
Only she’d never find
A way out
Of the traps in her mind
Sometimes they would shout
Scream, spew cursing about
Tell her she’s the one
Of her mind, she’s out.
They pumped her up with drugs
As if she were a common street thug
It felt like she was being mugged
To stop that pain that she lugged.
Commentary: “Voices” is a quatrain with a “chain rhyme” scheme. Its rhyming pattern is aaba, bbcb, ccdc, dddd. The effect of this pattern is actually similar to that of a sonnet, because the fourth and final verse is different from those prior. In a sonnet, the last two lines form a thematically and formally distinct rhyming couplet. “Voices” is a powerful quatrain, one about a young girl with some type of mental illness, most likely schizophrenia. The title refers to her hearing voices in her head. The voices come from the television and all around her; and she is “out” of her mind. Ironically, the only way to help her is to add torment and near torture to the already persistent inner pain she experiences on a daily basis. The final verse suggests that she was taken to a psychiatric ward. Because the reader does not know what happens to the girl, there is a sense of lingering dread.
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