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Poem topic

In this stage of the analysis, you try to work out what the poem is about, firstly at a simple level and then at a deeper level. Some of the more common topics are war, love, revenge, loss, death, humanity, seasons, nature, and animals. Basically, poems can be about anything. Is it set in the real world or does it describe something more abstract? Is the poem describing a thing or is it an account of an event or process? A thing might be a tree, an event or process might be a war or how to catch a fish. Some poems may be about a problem the author or speaker has (a lost love perhaps), a challenge (climbing a mountain), or an upcoming exciting event (a child’s birthday).

There might be various levels in a poem - it may describe the interaction of certain animals in nature, but at a deeper level it may describe how human society interacts. Various animals may represent different parts of human society - the different social classes, the government, police, beggars, etc. Some poems may have three or more levels, which makes life very difficult for the student analysing them. Be careful not to overanalyse the poem and what it’s about - you’re better off giving a simple analysis of the poem rather than half guessing some deeper meaning and getting it ‘wrong’. Remember that not all poems are meant to be deep and meaningful - some are merely descriptions or accounts of certain events.