Monday, 9 April 2012

Form 4 and Form 5 Poem Analysis

In the Midst of Hardship by Latiff Mohidin

Latiff was born in 1941. He is Malaysia's most celebrated living artist and poet and is considered a national treasure. Called 'Boy Wonder' since age 11, he got his art training in Germany at Hochschule fur Bildende Kunste, Atelier La Courriere in France and Pratt Graphic Centre in America. He shaped the development of art practice and literature through his extraordinary vision.

Poem analysis

In the Midst of Hardship by Latiff Mohidin

At dawn they returned home
their soaky clothes torn
and approached the stove
their limbs marked by scratches
their legs full of wounds
but on their brows
there was not a sign of despair

The first stanza tells us about the condition of the people returning home as they were out in the flood. They returned home starving as they approached the stove, mentioned in the third line. Though their condition is quite bad with scratches and wounds, yet they do not show any sign of hopeless or worried.
The whole day and night just passed
they had to brave the horrendous flood
in the water all the time
between bloated carcasses
and tiny chips of tree barks
desperately looking for their son’s
albino buffalo that was never found

The second stanza explains to us how they faced the terrible flood together. Surrounded by dead animals and parts of trees that had been destroyed, they failed in searching for their son’s albino buffalo.
They were born amidst hardship
and grew up without a sigh or a complaint
now they are in the kitchen, making
jokes while rolling their ciggarete leaves

Although these people were born in poverty and hardship but they do not complain about their lives. Instead, they are enjoying their lives happily among each other.

1.Torn /teər/ to pull or be pulled apart, or to pull pieces off
2. Stove  /stəʊv/ a piece of equipment which burns fuel or uses electricity in order to heat a place
3. Limbs /lɪm/ an arm or leg of a person or animal, or a large branch of a tree
4. Wounds /wuːnd/ a damaged area of the body, such as a cut or hole in the skin or flesh made by a weapon
5. Despair /dɪˈspeər /he feeling that there is no hope and that you can do nothing to improve a difficult or worrying situation
6. Horrendous/həˈren.dəs/extremely unpleasant or bad
7. Bloated/ˈbləʊ.tɪd/swollen and rounded because of containing too much air, liquid or food
8. Carcasses/ˈkɑː.kəs/the body of a dead animal, especially a large one that is soon to be cut up as meat or eaten by wild animals
9. Amidst/əˈmɪd/in the middle of or surrounded by; among
10. Sigh/saɪ/to breathe out slowly and noisily, expressing tiredness, sadness, pleasure, etc.
 11. Complaint/kəmˈpleɪnt/when someone says that something is wrong or not satisfactory
Midst/mɪdst/the middle of a group of people or things

He Had Such Quiet Eyes by Bibsy Soenharjo

Bibsy Soenharjo was born in Jakarta on 22 November 1928. Her father was one of the founding fathers of the Republic of Indonesia. Bibsy began writing her first prose in 1957 and then poetry in the sixties. Her poems have appeared in bilingual anthologies, with her Indonesian works translated into English, Dutch and Japanese and her English poems into Indonesian and Dutch. Bibsy continued to write prose pieces in Indonesian that appeared in Jakarta dailies under the pen name Nusapati. She now lives in Jakarta with the youngest of her three sons, Haryo, his wife Sutji and their children.

Poem analysis

He Had Such Quite Eyes by Bibsy Soenharjo

He had such quiet eyes
She did not realise
They were two pools of lies
Layered with thinnest ice
To her, those quiet eyes
Were breathing desolate sighs
Imploring her to be nice
And to render him paradise

In the first stanza, the persona explains how the girl is blinded by the guy’s personality. The girl had been lied by the guy’s eyes and surrendered her heart and soul to the guy.

If only she’d been wise
And had listened to the advice
Never to compromise
With pleasure-seeking guys
She’d be free from ‘the hows and whys’

The second stanza tells the possibility if the girl had only been clever to think and listen to the advice that may had been given from her family or friends and not to easily fall for men who are only searching for pleasure in women.

Now here’s a bit of advice
Be sure that nice really nice
Then you’ll never be losing at dice
Though you lose your heart once or twice

In the last stanza, the persona includes an advice for women to be sure whether the man is sincere or just playing with words in a relationship. In this stanza, life is referred to as a dice that we may lose or win at the same time.


1.Desolate /ˈdes.əl.ət/describes a place that is empty and not attractive, with no people or nothing pleasant in it
2. Sighs saɪ/to breathe out slowly and noisily, expressing tiredness, sadness, pleasure, etc.
3. Imploring /ɪmˈplɔːr/  to ask someone to do or not do something in a very sincere, emotional and determined way
4. Render /ˈren.dər/  to cause someone or something to be in a particular state
5. Paradise /ˈpær.ə.daɪs/ a place or condition of great happiness where everything is exactly as you would like it to be
6. Wise /waɪz/ having or showing the ability to make good judgments, based on a deep understanding and experience of life
7. Compromise /ˈkɒm.prə.maɪz/ an agreement in an argument in which the people involved reduce their demands or change their opinion in order to agree
8. Pleasure /ˈpleʒ.ər/ enjoyment, happiness or satisfaction, or something that gives this
9. Dice /daɪs/ a small cube (= object with six equal square sides) with a different number of spots on each side, used in games involving chance

Nature by H.D Carberry
Hugh Doston (“Dossie”) Carberry was born July 12, 1921, the son of sir John Carberry, a former Chief Justice of Jamaica, and Lady Georgina Carberry, in Montreal, Canada. He came to Jamaica in infancy and spent most of his life there. He had his primary education at Decarteret school in Mandeville, Jamaica and then attended Jamaica College. After working with the Civil Service, to which he qualified as second out of over 100 applicants, Carberry went to St. Catherrine College, Oxford University, where he obtained his B. A. and B. C. L.. He read Law at Middle Temple and was called to the Bar in 1951, then returning to Jamaica to engage in private practice.
In 1954, Carberry married Dorothea, and they had two sons, Martin and John, and a daughter, Christine. In addition to his career in law, Carberry was a poet and gave outstanding service in the cultural field, being a member of the Managing Committee of the Little Theatre since 1951. A devout Christian, he was also a pillar of the Providence Methodist church as Class Co-leader. Carberry was Clerk to the Houses of Parliament from 1969-1978 and a member of the commonwealth Parliamentary Association. He was appointed Judge of the Jamaican court of appeal in 1978 and served for a decade. H. D. Carberry died on June 28, 1989.
Poem analysis
This poem by H.D Cranberry tells us about the weather conditions in Jamaica. Though Jamaica does not have all four seasons as in other countries, it is just as beautiful as compared to those that have. The other message that is being conveyed in this poem is we have to be proud for who we are and what we have. As seen in this poem, the persona starts with “we have neither summer nor winter neither autumn nor spring” as if he is lacking of something in his life. However, as we move on to the third line, “we have instead the days”, we can see that the persona is telling us that he has something that others don’t have.

1. Summer /ˈsʌm.ər/ the season of the year between spring and autumn when the weather is warmest, lasting from June to September north of the equator and from December to March south of the equator
2. Winter /ˈwɪn.tər/ the season between autumn and spring, lasting from November to March north of the equator and from May to September south of the equator, when the weather is coldest
3. Autumn /ˈɔː.təm/ the season of the year between summer and winter, lasting from September to November north of the equator and from March to May south of the equator, when fruits and crops become ripe and are picked, and leaves fall
4. Spring /sprɪŋ/ the season of the year between winter and summer, lasting from March to June north of the equator, and from September to December south of the equator, when the weather becomes warmer, leaves and plants start to grow again and flowers appear
5. Instead /ɪnˈsted/ n place of someone or something else
6. Lush /lʌʃ/ A lush area has a lot of green, healthy plants, grass and trees
7. Cane /keɪn/ the long, hard, hollow stem of particular plants such asbamboo, sometimes used to make furniture or support other plants in the garden
8. Magnificently /mægˈnɪf.ɪ.sənt/ ery good, beautiful or deserving to be admired
9. Swish /swɪʃ/ to (cause to) move quickly through the air making a soft sound
10. Gullies /ˈgʌl.i/ a narrow, rocky valley or channel with steep sides, made by a fast flowing stream
11. Fade /feɪd/ to (cause to) lose colour, brightness or strength gradually
12. Reaped /riːp/ to cut and collect a grain crop
13. Bare /beər / without any clothes or not covered by anything
14. Fallow /ˈfæl.əʊ/ describes land that is not planted with crops, in order to improve the quality of the soil
15. Blossom /ˈblɒs.əm/ When a tree or plant blossoms, it produces flowers before producing fruit which can be eaten
16. Scent /sent/ a pleasant natural smell
17. Sways /sweɪ/ to move slowly from side to side
18. Shivers /ˈʃɪv.ər/ When people or animals shiver, they shake slightly because they feel cold, ill or frightened
19. Slightest /slaɪt/ small in amount or degree
20. Buttercups /ˈbʌt.ə.kʌp/ a small, bright yellow wild flower     
21. Paved /peɪv/ an area of ground with a hard flat surface of pieces of stone, concrete or bricks

Form 1, Form 2 and Form 3 Poem Analysis

I Wonder by Jeannie Kirby.

I wonder why the grass is green,
And why the wind is never seen?
The poet questions on why the color of the grass is green but not the other colors. In this world we have so many colors like blue, yellow and gray. However, we can only see green as the color of the grass throughout the Earth. The poet also questions on why is the wind cannot be seen. As human, we can feel things via the sense of touch through contacts made with our skin. Nevertheless, we cannot see the wind although we can feel it on our skin.

Who taught the birds to build a nest,
And told the trees to take a rest?
In the first line, the poet wonders who gave the birds the knowledge to build such a perfect nest to live on. This is because; most birds build their own nest for their little ones and for them to live. As compared to animals, human need to be taught to learn some skills or abilities. The second line shows the curiosity of the poet on the trees that don’t move like other living things.

O, when the moon is not quite around,
Where can the missing bit be found?
We all know that the moon is round in shape. However, sometimes the moon loses its shape and become half or three quarter of its real shape. The poet is curious on where would the other parts of the moon have gone to.

Who lights the stars, when they blow out,
And makes the lightning flash about?
The stars always appear at night but disappear as the morning comes. This occurrence makes the poet to think that there is a person who light up the stars as the night comes and the lightning flash in the night sky.

Who paints the rainbow in the sky,
And hangs the fluffy clouds so high?
Rainbow is the combination of 7 lines that appears in 7 colors after the rain stops. The poet is curious on how would the rainbow appear in the sky. Looking at the rainbow also makes the poet to question about the clouds located up in the sky that looks like they are hanging.

Why is it now, do you suppose,
That Dad won’t tell me, if he knows?
The poet is wondering on why his father refuses to explain all the questions above. This is maybe because of the poet is too small to understand all the consequences that happen naturally in this world. 

Mr. Nobody -Unknown
I know a funny little man,
As quiet as a mouse,
Who does mischief that is done
In everybody’s house!
There’s no one ever sees his face, and yet we all agree
That every plate we break was cracked
By Mr. Nobody.
The funny little man mentioned in the poem is a little boy, perhaps three to five years old. This is because; a child within that age usually does not talk much rather than making things that require them to learn. However, they often create trouble to people around them. Like in this stanza, there are cracked plates but people tend not to scold them because they are in the learning process though people know they do it.

‘Tis he who always tears our books,
Who leaves the door ajar,
He pulls the buttons from our shirts,
And scatters pins afar;
That squeaking door will always squeak,
For, prithee, don’t you see,
We leave the oiling to be done
By Mr. Nobody.
The same thing happen mentioned in this stanza, the child creates another trouble in the house. Some of the troubles are the books have been torn, the buttons have been pulled out from the shirts and the pins are scattered. However, seeing that the little boy needs to learn, they leave the squeaking door to be oiled by the boy for him to learn.

He puts damp wood upon the fire,
That kettles cannot boil;
His are the feet that bring in mud,
And all the carpets soil.
The papers always are mislaid,
Who had them last night but he?
There’s no one tosses them about
But Mr. Nobody.
Within this age also, the child may be doing something that may annoy some other people. The examples are given in this stanza such as Mr. Nobody puts damp woods upon the fire which causes the kettle cannot be boiled, bringing the mud into the house and make the carpet soiled, and papers are mislaid. People know that no one could do such things except for Mr. Nobody.

The fingers marks upon the door
By no one of us are made;
We never leave the blinds unclosed,
To let the curtains fade;
The ink we never spill; the boots
That lying around you see
Are not our boots-they all belong
To Mr. Nobody.
However, though people like Mr. Nobody is quite troubling, they need to be directed and to be taught the meaning of life. Not to forget they become like that because they are in the process of learning. Therefore, we as adult or people that are older and already matured must show a good talent for them to follow the right role model. For example in this stanza, Mr. Nobody does not know the meaning of privacy which he lets the door and the curtain open, leaving the boots not in the right place and spilling inks.

                       The River by Valerie Bloom
Valerie Bloom was born and grew up in Clarendon, Jamaica. She was enchanted with literature from a very early age; her work first entered the public arena when she won a national competition.
Valerie moved to England in 1979. Here she began writing and performing regularly.  Valerie studied English with African and Caribbean Studies at the University of Kent at Canterbury.  She writes poetry in English and Jamaican patois for all ages.  She has published several poetry books and two novels for young people while her work has been published in over 300 anthologies. As well as running writing workshops and courses, Valerie performs across the country and internationally; she has appeared everywhere from local libraries to the Royal Albert Hall. She is also a familiar voice on television and radio.
Valerie was awarded an MBE for her services to poetry in 2008, and has been awarded an Honorary Masters Degree from the University of Kent. She lives with her family in Kent and is inspired by everything around her.  Caribbean life and culture remain a strong influence on her work.
Two of Valerie Bloom’s hugely popular poetry collections are available in one volume Hot Like Fire for the first time, puhblished by Bloomsbury in January 2009.

The River’s a wanderer,
A nomad, a tramp,
He doesn’t choose one place
To set up his camp.
The poet compared the river to a wanderer because a wanderer does not choose a place to stay for a long time. Same goes to the river which continues flowing and never stops.

The River’s a winder,
Through valley and hill
He twists and he turns,
He just cannot be still.
This stanza explains that a river does not rest or stops. Even though there are valleys or hills upfront, the river will continue flowing by adapting the surface of the Earth.

The River’s a hoarder,
And he buries down deep
Those little treasures
That he wants to keep.
The poet is comparing a river to a hoarder because when the river flows, it won’t stop to evade things which come across its way. The river will carry all the things with it and bury them in the river bed.

The River’s a baby,
He gurgles and hums,
And sounds like he’s happily
Sucking his thumbs.
In this stanza the river is compared to a baby because a baby’s voice sometimes can be too loud and sometimes it can be too slow. Same goes to the river, whenever he goes fast down the stream the sound is loud and when it comes to a more flat ground, the sound lessen and sometimes it cannot be heard.

The River’s a singer,
As he dances along,
The countryside echoes
The notes of his song.
The sixth stanza compares the river to a singer seeing that the river’s movement is significant to the movement of a singer on the stage. While moving, the river moves with sounds and it is heard to the countryside.

The River’s a monster
Hungry and vexed,
He’s gobbled up trees
And he’ll swallow you next.
The river is said to be a monster because when the water level increases and the speed of the stream is boosted, it will be a disaster that no one could stop it until it alleviate itself.

  Heir Conditioning by M SHANmughalingam.

In his school days at the V.I. from 1952 to 1958, Dato' M. Shanmughalingam was hyperactive in the debating, literary and drama fields. He was a member of the very successful school debating team and chairman of the Senior Literary and Debating Society. He topped the country in the 1956 Sixth Form Entrance Exam with 96% marks. He was the secretary and, later, joint editor of theSeladang, steering the V.I. newspaper through one of its most vibrant periods. He was in the first group of Victorians in 1958 to be awarded the coveted "Club 21" badge for meritorious service to the school.
Shan holds an Honours degree from the University of Malaya, a Masters from Harvard and a Doctorate from Oxford University. At Harvard he graduated first in class with Grade A in all eight subjects and was admitted to the Ph.D. programme directly without formal application. At Oxford he won the Getrude Hartley Memorial prize for Poetry and a graduate scholarship from Balliol College and the second prize in the Short Story competition judged by the novelist, Iris Murdoch and John Bayley, Prof. of Literature, and sponsored by ISIS, Oxford University and The Observer.
Shan's literary publications include poems and short stories in Commonwealth Anthologies (London) international anthologies (Singapore), in universities (Harvard, Malaya, Oxford and Singapore) and in national literary journals. He is co-editor of an anthology of Malaysian poetry.
Shan's works have been the subject of theses in universities in Malaysia and Germany and of a movie to be made in New Zealand. A video recording of his performance poetry with thirteen of his own poems has just been made for an Australian website on international poets.

Grand dad did you breathe
Before air cons were invented
Was it hard staying
Alive without modern inventions?
Grandma weren’t you flustered
As you fluttered with paper fans?
Could you communicate before
Faxes and long distance calls
Became basic necessities?
In the first stanza, the poet asks his grandparents about the life before the technology arouse and become the important usage in the world nowadays. He asks his grandfather was it complicated to live in the life without technology as he refers the technology to the invention of the air cons. Then he asks his grandmother regarding the condition when she used paper fans to cool herself. He also asks his grandmother what were the possibilities for them to communicate without faxes and long distance calls compared to the world nowadays.

Grandchild we lived
Before your age. Because
Of our ignorance,
We did not know
Pollution, stress, traffic jams
Destruction of forests, streams and
We feared God and nature
Now nature fears you and
Money is your new God.
The second stanza shows the answers given by the poet’s grandparents that sum up all the questions in one simple answer. The reason on why they did not experience all the pollution, stress, traffic jams, and destruction of forests, streams and hills is because of their ignorance; they were lack of knowledge by that time. His grandparents add, the only thing that they fear is God and nature but now, the nature turns to fear the entire human race and money is the only obsession to human.

       A Fighter’s Lines by Marzuki Ali.

I am old and worn
And have lost all my strength
And the history of the fight for independence
Have forced sacrifices
That know no name
Or life
The first stanza explains on the condition of the poet who was once a combatant; a retired soldier. He is unable to fight anymore like he used to because he is old and has lost all the strength that he has had before. He explains that the war for independence sacrificed many lives.

From the wheelchair of the rest of my days
I, body and energy crushed
See and cannot do much
These times are too big a challenge
For the remnants of my crippled years
The net of deceit spread everywhere
Disturbs me.
In the second stanza, through the word wheelchair we can recognize that the poet is a paralyzed person. These days are too challenging for him as he is unable to do many things on the wheelchair for him to spend his spare life.  He also includes that he is uncomfortable and disturbed by the dirtiness played by the people nowadays.
In the name of justice
Wake up and form ranks sons of our ancestors
Be brave
And erect a wall of people
Stand up heirs of our freedom

In the third stanza, the poet urges the youngsters to wake up and unite to speak for their freedom and continue as what they ancestors had done many years ago.

I have no more voice
It is you now who should speak
The last two lines shows that the poet has already given up and ready to give the responsibility to the new generation to continue their fight.