Literature: Poetry

Poetry is a form of writing stimulated by emotion, expressing a deep feeling by the help of imagination and reasoning which may be difficult to explain in literary form. Poetry is also an art of writing and collection of poems. A poet may choose not to obey normal rules of language in order to achieve a particular effect. So, a poet can change the system and normal rule of language in writing or speech. Poetry is expressed rhythmically making use stanza, metre, rhyme scheme and lines.
Characteristics of Poetry
Poetry is characterized by the use of archaic language and precision of words. Tis archaic expression is allowed in poetry.
Also, poetry make use of stanza, metre, rhyme scheme and lines.
Poetry also makes use of dialogue known as dramatic monologue where the poet makes use of invented characters and settings.
Types of Poetry
The Lyric: This is a form of poetry expressing strong personal emotion, feelings and thoughts such as love.
The Ode: This is a poem of meditation addressed to animate or inanimate objects.
The Epic: it is a long and elaborated narrative poem usually about the actions of great men and women or about a society or a nation’s history.
The Ballad: it is a lyrical poem that tells a story and teaches moral lessons, written in short stanzas. It is formed by people who are not necessarily poets, usually with dramatic background.
The Sonnet: It is a lyrical poem with a specifically fixed pattern of rhyme of fourteen lines. The poem is arranged in a special form.
Elegy: this is lyrical poem written with sole aim of remembering a sad situation such as a remembrance of a death.
Dirge: this is an immediate reaction through speech or writing to a sad event. While a dirge is an instant reaction to a sad event, elegy is not instant. An elegy is a remembrance of a past sorrowful event.
Lullaby: it is a soft gentle song to keep children quiet, peaceful, happy or to make them sleep.
Epitaph: it is a statement written in memory of a dead person normally placed on the person’s tomb.
Didactic Poem: this is any poem that teaches a moral or spiritual lesson.
Limerick: this is a kind of nonsense but humorous five-line structured short poem. It is a poem introduced by a popular poet., Edward Lear.
Satirical Poems: A satire is a poem in which human vices/ills are ridiculed with a view to correct those vices/ills.
Forms of lines in Poetry
Villanelle: A poem of two rhymes in five tercets and a quatrain.
Distich: A verse arranged in a couplet but makes a complete sense.
Monometer: One line of poem.
Couplet: Two lines of poem.
Tercets: Three lines of poem.
Quartets: Four lines of poem.
Quintet: Five lines of poem.
Sextet: Six lines of poem.
Septet: Seven lines of poem.
Octave: Eight lines of poem.
Dioxin: Ten lie of poem.
Dochnius: A foot of five syllables with first to fourth shorter than the fifth.
Dactyl: A finger-like feet of three syllables.
Spontee: A foot of two long syllables.
Long Measure: A Quatrain of eight lines of syllables.
Epitrite: A foot of three long syllables and one shorter syllable.
Fifteener: A verse of fifteen syllables.
Bacchius: A foot of two long syllables followed by one short syllable.
Measuring Rhyne and Meter in Poetry
The measuring of rhythm or meter in a poem is called ‘scansion’, which refers to parts of each line called metric feet. A foot is a two-syllable or three-syllable section of a line with a particular sound pattern.
To fine the rhyme pattern of a poem, look at the last word in each line of the poem for a few lines. Poems with words that rhyme at the end of the lines are called ‘end rhymes’. The pattern of such rhymes is described using letters to indicate the distinct rhymes. For instance, if the first and second line have the same rhyme, and the third and the fourth line have the same rhyme, then such a poem has an AABB rhyme scheme.
Example: Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall
Humpty dumpty had a great fall
Rhyme schemes or patterns are described using letters to indicate distinct rhymes. However, poems that have no rhyme scheme (pattern), no set meter, no particular structure are referred to as a ‘free verse’. Free verse poems do not follow the rules and have no rhyme or rhythm but they are still an artistic expression. They are sometimes said to be a modern form a poetry.

POETRY (The Mourner’s Songs – Collection of Poems by S.O.A Amuwa) Why Tax?
I did not know
Salaried labour as an offence
Federal government yesterday
Taxed the sweat of my brow
Today the state taxman
With his iron grip
On my bank account
Tomorrow the local councilor
With his heavy knocks at my door
Asking for my tax papers
See the meat seller
Dishing out pieces of bones
After tax doubles market price
See the caretaker
From my no-nonesense landlord
Yes, for a purpose well known
A rental apartment is not free
The motorist charged a fare
Which only angels could bear
I wonder how much
Immoderate rate to pay
If I sneeze or cough
I am squeezed and squeezed
Till droplets of hot blood
Popped out along the seams
Of my empty wallet
Ah! Principles of taxation!
Subject Matter/Theme
The poem decried the various forms of taxation, the principles of collecting the tax and its effect through increased prices, cutting across various sectors of the economy.
Poetic Devices
“…taxed the sweat of my brow” – This is metonymy. Instead of using the actual word., something else closely associated with the actual word was used. ‘The sweat of my brow’ was used to replace my labour.
“…charge a fare which only angels could bear” – This is hyperbole. The poet made use of exaggeration to pass the effect of his expression to the reader.
Time Shall Tell
When will I be allotted a seat
In the very front row
Among notable notabilities?
I do not know, I know not
I’ve no acquired citizenship
Except my simple noble birth
[‘ve no parental influence
Not even a modicum of honour
I’ve no inherited estate
And no pregnant bag cash
I’ve no excellent opportunity
Not even a golden coat
I’ve only a promising career
That remains a little seed of dream
Planted among thorns and thistles
In a deserted desert land
Who knows who can tell
If little droplets of rains
Shall come to do the tricks
Only time shall tell.
Subject Matter/Theme
The poem expresses the poet’s unperturbed nature in attaining the topmost rung on the ladder of life. ‘Time shall tell’ displays the poet’s confidence although he had no parental influence or special opportunity to aid his attaining the peak in life. It is a poem that teaches confidence.
Poetic Devices
“When will I be allotted a seat in the very front row among notable notabilities?” – This is a rhetorical question. The writer asked the question with no need or expectation of an answer as was typical of a rhetorical question.

Labour Loss
Streams of sweats flow
Yet the pay is low
The hours of labour so long
So the muscles no more strong

Who will remove this handicap
And add feathers to our cap?
Not even a modicum of care
To lighten the burden here
Sorrows abound in this workplace
Unlike some far sacred place
Where laborers sing and dance
To their melodious blessed assurance

Sun of retirement may set in May
This little prayer we must say
May relaxation hour not be bitter
May promises for pensioners bring better
Subject Matter/Theme
The poem decries the pitiable plight of labour at work without a commensurate pay for the labourer. The poem has three stanzas and each stanza having four lines each. This is a rhyming poem. Each line rhymes with the next.
Teach Me Wisdom
Teach me wisdom to cope with life’s strife
And to be the best, father help me strive
The future is great and full of thorns
To keep me safe please blow the horns
You were once like me, this fool called me
Who but you could in wisdom lead me?

You shout and I look the other way, Mother
And all your wise words I murder
Please keep them coming Monday to Sunday
Some friends can’t cook soup or wash plates
And some have been rubbed in their pee place
Mother make time to teach me life’s skills
And show me how to guard myself like eels
God, make my mother lead me so and more
And fill my father with wisdom from night to morn
For them to guide me aright please ensure
On my might to cope I am not sure
When I try please bless me dear Lord
And when I fall please throw me your cord
Subject Matter/Theme
The poem focuses on life’s issues with prayers to cope with the struggles and strife in life. The poem has three stanzas. The lines of the poem rhymes.
Poetic Devices
“Who but you could in wisdom lead me?” This is a rhetorical question. The question asked needed no answer.
“…some have been rubbed in their pee place” This is euphemism. It means some have been molested.
“…guard myself like eels…” This is simile. It is used for comparison.
learders of tomorrow
when they say that youth today
are leaders of tomorrow
it just cannot be all these
that roam all the streets like breeze
does corn grown on rock have root?
Does corn grain escape bird’s beak?
Can yam be king ins a goat’s home?
If street boy ends well, thank chance

Why give my fine child up to chance?
Chance is unsteady like breeze
Has my child ‘s head turned a die
Men cast to lose their money?
Planning is the cure for chance
He who plans will hardly fail
When a good plan marries chance
My child will be a miracle
Subject matter/theme
The poem with its free rhyme focused on the sort of youths that can be leaders of tomorrow. The theme
preaches planning as the antidote for a better tomorrow. tomorrow’s leaders should not be left to chance
Poetry Devices
“roam all the street like breeze” This is simile. It is used for comparison.
“Does corn grown on rock have root?” This is a rhetorical question. The answer to the question is obvious.
“When a good plan marries chance” This is personification. Features of human beings ’marry’ was given to inanimate object ‘chance’.
All should have pride in their job
As loss of it will cause a sob
Bus boy rather than to rob
Than to join the riot mob!

But he sometimes causes worry
And he will not say sorry
Fighting on account of change
People who could bring him change

Some tender like yam tendrils
They prefer to toil than to school
Parents please pay their school bills
And buy then the needed tool

Know this truth O Conductor!
Nasty men do board your bus
They will shout cause you pain
Like them please don’t be insane

There is life besides shouting
If there’s a way stop conducting
With pain follow book pages
And reap future fat wages.
Subject matter/Theme
The poem makes is a rhyming verse with five stanzas. It makes a comparison between the conductor and other job profession. The poet preferred being a conductor to being a robber in stanza one. It encourages the conductor not to be contended with his status which causes worry in stanza two. It further encourages the conductor in stanza four, never to be like nasty men who board his bus to cause pain. The concluding stanza advised the conductor to give room for education in order to end his life of shouting and reap its reward in the future.
Poetic Devices
“…tender like yam tendrils” – This is simile. It was used to compare indirectly some young conductor to yam tendrils, giving the reader a better explanation of how they looked like through the comparison.


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