Monday, May 16, 2011

Formula Poem: In Two Minds

The analysis is done by Ni’matuz Zahroh, one of the English teachers from Jombang, East Java, Indonesia.

In Two Minds

What I love about night
       Is the silent certainty of its stars
What I hate about stars
       Is the overwhelming swank of their names
What I love about names
       Is that every complete stranger has one
What I hate about one
       Is the numerical power it holds over its followers
What I love about followers
       Is the unseemly jostle to fill the footsteps
What I hate about footsteps
       Is the way they gang up in the darkness
What I love about darkness
       Is the soft sighing of its secrets
What I hate about secrets
       Is the excitement they pack into their short lives
What I love about lives
       Is the variety cut from the same pattern
What I hate about pattern
       Is its dull insistence on conformity
What I love about conformity
       Is the seed of rebelliousness within
What I hate about within
       Is the absence of landscape, the feel of the weather
What I love about the weather
       Is its refusal to stay in at night
What I hate about night
       Is the silver certainty of its stars

From Everyday Eclipses by Roger McGough

1.  Title: In Two Minds by Roger McGough
2.  Type of Poem: Formula Poem (“..... is” poem)
3.  Paraphrase: This poem tells about someone’s thinking on his/her life.
4.  Poetic devices:
     a.  Rhyme:  a-b b-c c-d d-e e-f f-g g-h h-i i-j j-k k-l l-m m-a a-b
          The rhyme in this poem is End Rhyme (at the end of a stanza-line)
     b.  Rhythm:
          Line 1    : Trochaic Tetrameter
          Line 2    : Spondaic Pentameter
          Line 3    : Trochaic Tetrameter
          Line 4    : Spondaic Pentameter
          Line 5    : Trochaic Tetrameter
          Line 6    : Anapestic Hexameter
          Line 7    : Trochaic Tetrameter
          Line 8    : Spondaic Hexameter
          Line 9    : Spondaic Tetrameter
          Line 10  : Spondaic Pentameter
          Line 11  : Spondaic Tetrameter
          Line 12  : Trochaic Hexameter
          Line 13  : Spondaic Tetrameter
          Line 14  : Trochaic Pentameter
          Line 15  : Spondaic Tetrameter
          Line 16  : Iambic Heptameter
          Line 17  : Trochaic Tetrameter
          Line 18  : Spondaic Hexameter
          Line 19  : Spondaic Tetrameter
          Line 20  : Anapestic Pentameter
          Line 21  : Spondaic Tetrameter
          Line 22  : Trochaic Tetrameter
          Line 23  : Spondaic Tetrameter
          Line 24  : Spondaic Hexameter
          Line 25  : Spondaic Pentameter
          Line 26  : Iambic Hexameter
          Line 27  : Trochaic Tetrameter
          Line 28  : Spondaic Hexameter
     c.  Alliteration and onomatopoeia are not found in this poem.
     d.  Repetition:
          -   What I love about ...
          -   What I hate about ...
          -   Night, stars, names, one, followers, footsteps, darkness, secrets, lives, pattern, conformity, within, and weather.
     e.  Comparison: Love – Hate
5.  Kinds of stanza: Couplet, because this poem consist of two lines; a pair of rhymed lines.
6.  Poetic diction:
     a.  Denotation: All words used are denotation.
     b.  Repetition:
          -   What I love about ...
          -   What I hate about ...
          -   Night, stars, names, one, followers, footsteps, darkness, secrets, lives, pattern, conformity, within, and weather.
     c.  Connotation, allution, parody, ambiguity, pun, paradox, and irony are not found in this poem.
     d.  Tone: Mindful.
     e.  Theme: Realistic on thinking / Mindful in life.
     f.  Symbol: Mind simbolized someone’s thinking.
     g.  Message: We should be realistic on thinking.
     h.  Comments
          Roger McGough’s poem In Two Minds is only suitable for relatively advanced students. Because this poem follows a rigorous scheme, such as the alternation of Love and Hate. The last word of each couplet becoming the topic of the next, and the last topic being the same as the first but after Hate rather than Love. Meanwhile, this poem can be a good model in teaching aour students (Junior High School students). Although they may not undrstand all the phrases (overwhelming swank of their names), they soon know which verb is coming next and what will follow Love about... or Hate about... They can then write their own versions on any topic they choose following the same basic scheme.


  1. thanks for publish my poem's analysis. where are you now, pak dul? are you sleeping? (blognya sepi tuh...hehe...)

  2. This isn't your analysis. It seems to have been taken from 'how to teach writing' by Jeremy Harmer. And you're wrong about the poem's containing no alliteration. Your structure is quite helpful for analysing poems, but it's a pity that you haven't quoted your sources.


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