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

Are You Still Playing Your Flute by Zurinah Hassan

Date / Place of birth : 13 June 1949, Alor Setar Kedah.
Permanent address : No.2, Jalan Pinggir, 8/1L, Seksyen 8, 40000 Shah Alam since 1974.
Academic Qualifications : B.A.Hons (Universiti Sains Malaysia), M.A. (Universiti Putra Malaysia). Doktor Falsafah, Akademi Pengajian Melayu, Universiti Malaya.
Awards :
1.    Anugerah Penulisan Asia Tenggara (S.E.A. Write Award) 2004
2.    Book Category Award
-         Pujangga Tidak Bernama, Hadiah Sastera Perdana(1994/1995)
-          Memoir Zurinah Hassan Menjejak Puisi, Hadiah Buku Perpustakaan Negara 2002/2004)
-         Memoir Zurinah Hassan Menjejak Puisi , Hadiah Sastera Perdana 2002/2003.

Poem analysis

Are You Still Playing Your Flute by Zurinah Hassan
Are you still playing your flute?
When there is hardly time for our love
I am feeling guilty
To be longing for your song
The melody concealed in the slim hollow of the bamboo
Uncovered by the breath of an artist
Composed by his fingers
Blown by the wind
To the depth of my heart.

Stanza 1

This poem talks about the responsibility of the leaders in the world which the leadership is symbolized as the flute. “Are you still playing your flute?” meaning iis the leader still doing his job in leading the country.  “The melody” is the government system and “in the slim hollow of the bamboo” is the government system as written in the book of constitution.  “Artist” is referred to as the leader and “his fingers” symbolizes the style used by the leader in administrating the system. “To be longing for your song” here means the people is longing for a wise leader that can bring them the peace and harmony in the country once again.
Are you still playing your flute?
In the village so quiet and deserted
Amidst the sick rice fields
While here it has become a luxury
To spend time watching the rain
Gazing at the evening rays
Collecting dew drops
Or enjoying the fragrance of flowers.

Stanza 2
People nowadays are focusing more on the city life until there are less people to take care of the paddy fields in the village. The second stanza also tells us that it would have been so hard for people in the city to have leisure times enjoying the nature as it has been so much chaos with less people caring for each other.

Are you still playing your flute?
The more it disturbs my conscience
to be thinking of you
in the hazard of you
my younger brothers unemployed and desperate
my people disunited by politics
my friend slaughtered mercilessly
this world is too old and bleeding.

Stanza 3
Day by day, there are more people to suffer for the consequences of the irresponsible leaders. Politics disunite the people and kill more other innocent people in other country. This world is old until a leader comes and unites us all.


1. Flute /fluːt/ a tube-shaped musical instrument with a hole that you blow across at one end while holding the tube out horizontally to one side of you
2. Longing /ˈlɒŋ.ɪŋ/ a feeling of wanting something or someone very much
3. Concealed /kənˈsiːl/ to prevent something from being seen or known about; to hide something
4. Hollow /ˈhɒl.əʊ/ having a hole or empty space inside
5. Composed /kəmˈpəʊzd/ calm and in control of your emotions
6. Deserted /dɪˈzɜː.tɪd/ If a place is deserted, there are no people in it
7. Amidst /əˈmɪd/ in the middle of or surrounded by; among
8. Luxury /ˈlʌk.ʃər.i/ great comfort, especially as provided by expensive and beautiful things
9. Gazing /geɪz/ to look at something or someone for a long time, especially in surprise, admiration or because you are thinking about something else
10. Rays /reɪ/ a narrow beam of light, heat, etc. travelling in a straight line from its place of origin
11. Dew /djuː/ drops of water that form on the ground and other surfaces outside during the night
12. Fragrance /ˈfreɪ.grənt s/ a sweet or pleasant smell
13. Conscience /ˈkɒn.t ʃənt s/ the part of you that judges how moral your own actions are and makes you feel guilty about bad things that you have done or things you feel responsible for
14. Hazard /ˈhæz.əd/   something that is dangerous and likely to cause damage
15. Unemployed /ˌʌn.ɪmˈplɔɪd/ not having a job that provides money
16. Slaughtered /ˈslɔː.tər/ to cruelly and unfairly kill a lot of people
17. Mercilessly /ˈmɜː.sɪ.ləs/ /ˈmɜː.sɪ.lə.sli/ having or showing no mercy


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