Discussion of Four Short Poems


The poem “We Real Cool” by Gwendolyn Brooks is a four stanza and eight-line piece that talks about youthful rebellion. In line two, “We Left school” clearly reveals the defiant nature of the youths who seem to think leaving school makes them stand out from others (Holnes 53). There is an acknowledgment that in life, we all die, and by understanding that death comes soon, the defiant youths consider life to be best lived for the moment. That might be the reason the youths strike straight and sing sin, as shown in lines four and five, respectively. I like the story since it reminds me of youths’ choices and the impact associated with the decisions. I associate the poem with a personal understanding that life is made up of choices and consequences, manifest soon or late in life. However, the language used in the short story is complex, and unless keenly read or interpreted, it might leave the reader unaware of its true meaning. Therefore, simplifying the language would make the poem resonate better with most of its audience.

The Lamb by William Blake

The poem “The Lamb” by William Blake is a two stanza, ten-line each piece that talks about Jesus Christ. Lines thirteen and fourteen, “He is called by thy name, For he calls himself a Lamb,” depict the clear nature of the association between Jesus and the Lamb (Blake and Otto 34). I like the poem because it explains the religious association between the two and the innocence that children have, their tenderness and affection for little creatures, just like what I see in my nephew. Moreover, Jesus first appeared like a child, and in His association with the Lamb, it shows like the Lamb, He too was meek and mild. His name calls us establishes the religious context of the relationship between men and God through Jesus. I wonder why Blake fails to associate the Lamb’s death to salvation and its significance in establishing the relationship between God and men.

Harlem by Langston Hughes

The short poem “Harlem” by Langston Hughes is an eleven-line piece that questions the fate of a dream deferred. Based on its setting, the story might have been meant to reflect the lives of the African Americans, but its content has a broader meaning to life as a whole regardless of one’s race (Murray and Tangedal 45). The poem has a personal connection to me since it makes me question the fate of this dream I have had for some time now, and I never seem to take it seriously. What if I follow through with it and change every perspective I have? After reading the poem, I have been called to think deeper about the choices I have to make about my dream and its fate. However, Hughes could have ended the dream, but maybe doing so would have detached the audience from contextualizing its meaning to real life.

Family Ties by Jimmy Santiago Baca

The context of the poem “Family Ties” by Jimmy Santiago Baca is laid on cultural disassociation between the narrator and the rest of his family. Despite being caught up in a family gathering, there is no sense of togetherness. Santiago shows, “I feel no love or family tie here,” depicting the absence of a family bond (Behn 67). I relate to this story every time I travel home and meet with my relatives from South Carolina. In their family setting, they spend a lot of time together and seem to have a strong connection among themselves, unlike me, who barely have time for the family due to responsibilities. Everyone in my family is committed to their schedule, and establishing a family connection has never worked. In the presence of the other family from the south, I always feel like an outsider since I have never developed close contact.

Works Cited

Behn, Robin. Once Upon a Time in the Twenty-First Century: Unexpected Exercises in Creative Writing. The University of Alabama Press. 2021.

Blake, William. William Blake. Edited by Peter Otto. Oxford University Press. 2018.

Holnes, Darrel A. Stepmotherland: Poems. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 2022.

Murray, Joshua M, and Ross K. Tangedal. Editing the Harlem Renaissance. Clemson University Press. 2021.

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