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Poetry is known as the art of saying the unsayable, and some poems undoubtedly create the meanings and emotions that seem beyond the words written on the piece of paper. Many people feel that poems have magical qualities, and every individual seems to react differently to such poems. The genre of the poem can be determined by its style, subject, imagery or an attitude. However, it sometimes depends on the style of the writer, whether he/she writes on particular subject or portrays a different world to the reader, or the attitude or expression of the words says it all. This essay aims to evaluate and analyze few of the poems of my own collection. The analysis and evaluation criterion is based upon the enigmatic style, ballad style and a special message that these chosen poems give to the readers and society (Lorcher 2012).
The chosen poems from my collection are “Nothing Gold Can Stay” by Robert Frost, “The Red Wheelbarrow” by William Carlos Williams, “Root Cellar” by Theodore Roethke, “To Satch” by Samuel Allen and “We Real Cool” by Gwendolyn Brooks. The selection criterion is based upon my personal interest as well as the message of the poems and their ballad genre. Moreover, they are from different periods and illustrate a conceptual theme.
The first poem in the collection is “To Satch” by Samuel Allen. It can be considered as a ballad. A ballad is a few lines stanza that is characterized by swift actions and is usually narrated in direct style. Additionally, in this poem, a motivational message is given to all enthusiastic youth. The writer metaphorically relates the determination of the young one with the determination of a ‘hero’. He further explains how nothing seems impossible to a true hero, and he never stops following his dreams. The best example of the metaphor is “reach up and grab me hand fulla stars”; in this line, the writer made an assumption that one should try to reach for your dreams even if they are unreachable. Another beautiful example of alliteration in this short poem is the words ‘long lean leg’. Alliteration refers to the repetition of some specific sound used in the first syllables in continuous word or phrases. Although the English used in the ballad is Caribbean, such as the word ‘fulla’ instead of full of; however, the phrase used in the stanza highlights the body genre of the writer and has tendency to grab reader’s attention (Pericles 2004).
The second poem is another piece of poetry giving message to the younger generation like “To Satch” by Samuel Allen. However, the message in this poem is quite ironically conveyed. “We Real Cool” by Brooks is the life story of seven players who had a carefree lifestyle with all the ills of the society such as gambling, vulgar language and drinking alcohol. In this poem, the writer elucidates the fact that the so called “cool” lifestyles lead only to destruction. Coming to the style of the poem, the writer has tried to make the poem rhythmic. The usage of words such as ‘cool’, ‘school’ and ‘sin’, gin’ was a kind of external rhymes used by the writer to make this ballad beautiful. Like the previous poem, the theme is directed towards the youth emphasizing on the fact that being ‘cool’ and leaving the ‘school’ would not go down well and will eventually lead to self-destruction only, as he mentioned ‘we die soon’. This ballad is written in a way to give tempo beat to attract the youngsters as if this poem may sound like a rap song.
The third poem “Root Cellar” by Theodore Roethke depicts the theme of media and art. It portrays a dynamic picture of survival fights. This poem like the others also does not openly give the clue to the reader about its theme. However, unlike previous poems, this poem provides a little imagery to its readers to portray the irony of life. The message in the poem is to make people understand the fact that even in the hardest moments of life there is hope of happiness. In the poem, the writer used the terminology to produce alliteration, such as the usage of the letter ‘d’ to generate the ‘dark’ and the ‘dank’ setting that reader can imagine in his/her mind. On the other hand, the usage of metaphors and similes is used quite often; for example, the cellar is said to be as dark as ditch. This‘d’ alliteration has added an atmosphere to the poem. In this poem, Roethke conveys the message of hope that life is resilient and always wins over the darkness of death in one way or another. This message is given in the first and the last line of the poem that despite all the darkness inside the cell, nothing would inside the root cellar would give-up life. In “Root Cellar,” Roethke compares the piece’s dark and gloomy tone with an eventually encouraging meaning that life goes on and flourishes even in the dark (Price 2008).
The fourth poem I chose, “Nothing Gold Can Stay” by Robert Frost is another best example of a ballad and extensive uses of Felix-Culpa metaphors. On the other hand, the rhythm created with the words such as ‘gold,’ ‘hold,’ ‘flower hour,’ ‘leaf’ and ‘grief’ has made the poem more poetic. The eight-line stanza makes the poem octave. The writer starts his poem with the paradox “green is gold and leaf’s a flower.’ This obvious knowledge and precise observation depicts the fact that the writer tried to bring ancient linkages into the conflicting play. The poem says that the nature’s first green is gold. He observed that prior to certain plants and tree leaves becoming green, they are, in fact, yellow in color. It is really not as deep as some poetry reviewers often try to make it. Frost's mastermind lived in his basic natural style. However, in my opinion, the overall tone and measuring of piedmont in this poem is incredible.
The last poem of my collection is “The Red Wheel Barrow” by William Carlos Williams. Some reviewer thinks it barely fits the profile of the poem or the poetry. However, this fits in the definition of the genre of ballad. This piece of poetry also provides the reader with imagery like the second poem. There are many metaphors and meanings that can be taken out of this piece of poem such as ‘glazed wheel barrow as rain water.’ The writer in this poem is providing the imagery though his words of what he saw (Lorcher 2012).
The genre of the poem can be determined by its style, subject, imagery or an attitude. However, it sometimes depends on the style of the writer whether he/she writes on particular subject or portrays a different world to the reader, or the attitude or expression of the words says it all. In this essay, I managed to evaluate and analyze few of the poems of my own collection. The analysis and evaluation criterion is based upon the enigmatic style, ballad style and a special message that these chosen poems give to the readers and society. The poems “Nothing Gold Can Stay” by Robert Frost, “The Red Wheelbarrow” by William Carlos Williams, “Root Cellar” by Theodore Roethke, “To Satch” by Samuel Allen and “We Real Cool” by Gwendolyn Brooks are a rare piece of poetry from my collection. They have the best examples of metaphors, imagery, messages from the poets to the society and youth. Although the time has passed, many of the poems were written centuries back; however, the messages still fits in the society. This also shows the foresightedness of the writers.