www.whyville.net Nov 28, 2007 Weekly Issue

Guest Writer

Analyzing Poetry: Part 1

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Author's Note: The poem at the end is very mature and young children should talk to their parents before reading it.

In many issues of the Times, there are poems. Some are deep and meaningful; with great symbolism and metaphors. Some cannot analyze this type of poetry. I want to help you! A poem is a story, and it takes you on a journey to find the massage. I will show you how to use the literary elements in a poem to find this underlining message.

The poem I selected to analyze is "Go Quietly and With a Poem in Your Heart My Love, My Love" By Ted Sheridan.

I wrote a poem for and about my wife and she cried as she read it
Her tears landing on the printed out page of my heart
Its inkjet type written words were bathed by the healing flow
That came pouring from her dark brown and loving eyes
She sighed and whimpered without concern for her emotional rescue
And then she touched my face with her gentle hand
Saying my name for the very last time before she closed her eyes
And in that it was not to be our final goodbye
But only an escape from the pain
As I too whispered under my breath
My eternal lover's name

To analyze this work, as well as all others, we can use many different techniques.

Word Choice

- Underline individual words and speculate about their importance within the poem.
- What do they mean out of context? Is there a strong difference?
- Seek unknown words in a dictionary. Make sure you look at ALL the definitions, some words have multiple definitions.


Four words I chose were: bathed, rescue, escape, and eternal.

Within the poem, this means how Ted's wife was so happy and touched by the poem that she "poured" her tears out.
Definition - to immerse (all or part of the body) in water or some other liquid, for cleansing, refreshment, etc.
There is no STRONG difference between the technical and inferred definitions, but they are used as a metaphor.

You try to do it with the other four words, or any of your choice!

Usage and Meaning of Literary Devices

What is a literary device? It is technically defined as a literary or linguistic technique that produces a specific effect, like a figure of speech, narrative style, or plot mechanism. All this says is that it is the overall effect of the language the author uses and what that language does. Most of the time, in many novels, the author uses literary devices such as conflicts within the story, personal thoughts, etc. to characterize (describe the character's personality) a character. Within a poem you should:

- Notice any literary devices (Irony, personal thoughts, simile, metaphor, personification, etc.) and underline them.
- Re-read your underlined portions and decipher their meaning.
- Where are they? Are there multiples? Is there a pattern connecting them?
- How do these affect the tone of the poem?


There were two significant metaphorical phrases that used great literary devices.

"Her tears landing on the printed out page of my heart, Its inkjet type written words were bathed by the healing flow"

This example is an example of a metaphor. The metaphor is comparing something very personal, the heart and love to something that is materialistic; a printer; without feelings. There is not pattern connecting the first phrase, even though both occur at separate ends of the poem.

Formal Characteristics of the Poem

Formal characteristics are things such as the title, nature of the poem, and all the things one might consider "unimportant".

- Why did the author choose this title?
- Does the poem tell a story?
- Where is the turning point? Is there one? If not, why?
- What is the theme of each stanza?
- Does the poem rhyme? What feeling does this give the poem?
- Is there a full ending? Why does the poem end this way?


The author may have chosen the title "Go Quietly and With a Poem in Your Heart My Love, My Love" because the title illustrates the overall feeling the author wants to communicate to you.

This poem does tell a story; about Ted and how he loved his wife forever, and will love her forever. This is the story when he tells her how she feels and she finally leaves him and the pain she was in.

There is a turning point, although it is not as prominent as some. The line that is a transition is "Saying my name for the very last time before she closed her eyes". This is because it shows the difference between the generous, benevolent love and her death from the pain.

There is a full ending to the poem in the last two lines because you feel in your heart there is peace, just by the end actions of the author.

Significance of Line Length and Breaks

In a poem, it is broken up according to many things. Some poems may break lines up by words, or rhyme themes, as well as syllables. Line breaks are really what makes a poem. One line break in the wrong place could change a lot of the poem's interpretation and meaning. This is why recognizing these are EXTREMLY important and key to understanding many poems.

- Do the line lengths vary? Why? (Shift in tone, mood, or meaning?)
- If the lines are regular, how does it affect your reading of the poem?
- Why do some continue onto the next line? How does this affect your reading?


The line lengths vary, but they do not correspond to the shift in tone or mood. Each one is just trying to convey something within it's self.

Some lines continue on because the author wants to break them up to give it more power in your head; so that you don't skip over it; so you can find deeper meaning within it.

As you can see, there are many different ways to interpret a poem! There are even more and I would like to write a follow-up article to this one. In this article I gave you four ways to try and interpret a poem. I would like to see how everyone understood what I wrote by . . .

Giving you a new poem to interpret! This is a poem I wrote, so I know what the meaning is. I will make this a contest by offering a prize for the person who completely comprehends the poem. Y-Mail them to me please!


To the floor
My hand touches
My cheek
It is
Yet I still
I think only
This will be black tomorrow
Just another day

It's tender
My eyes tear
In pain
"This won't go"
Not this time
It mocks
The bruises
On my heart
They never go away
Is a long time
They become scars

A tear ventures down
My cheek
Wetting the pain
It's still there

The scars
That you
Are imprinted on

Like the ones
That cover
Your body

It only brings
Memories back


Lyd1212, Going to find another poem *BAM!*


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