Poetry is often created by authors to deliver a message. For some, poetry is the window to one’s emotions. For others, poetry is a device to express a theme. In this paper, two poems shed light on certain aspects of my life that are congruent to the message that the poem wishes to convey.
“Upon the Burning of our House” by Anne Bradstreet describes the tension between attachment to material objects and the focus on the Divine Being. “The flame consume my dwelling place” (Bradstreet, 1666, Line 12) signifies the fire that engulfed the house. There are several earthly things found inside the house. Some of these earthly things include the furniture and equipment and the different areas of the house where a lot of memories have been formed. Despite what happened to the house, Bradstreet claims to bless God’s name for it is only God who provided those material things thus He alone could take them away (Bradstreet, 1666, Line 14). Oftentimes, I am greatly attached to all material possessions I have especially when they have sentimental values. In addition, when I misplace a thing that has significant meaning to me, I feel a big part of me is also missing. This keeps me constantly guilty for placing greater value on material things than on spiritual well-being. “Upon the Burning House” is a reminder of people’s vanity and the essence of knowing that more than just earthly things, there is a better and grander house built in heaven (Bradstreet, 1666, Lines 50-51). This, too, is a realization for me that no matter how valuable a material thing is, there is always something a lot greater than those objects and that something is found only in God’s kingdom.
“On Imagination” by Phillis Wheatley describes how she transitioned from her native country to America (1773, lines 1-2). Wheatley was thankful for enslavement because this led her to become acquainted to Christianity. Being an African, Wheatley believes that they are not ignorant but only unaware of Christianity. The whole message of the poem is that people can develop into better individuals if they want to. This poem is greatly practical and optimistic in its approach. Wheatley did not allow her color and her race to be someone better. Humans as we are, we tend to easily feel disheartened particularly when something unexpected happens. People’s responses to these events are indications of how strong their convictions and optimism are. From the word “transition”, many times I experienced several transitions in my life. As a matter of fact, such transition made me doubtful about my capacity to handle the changes. But I realized that one will never know the extent of his or her capacity unless there is an attempt to try. Simple transitions such as leaving high school and going to college brings about apprehensions. But with a resolute mind that knows the purpose of such transition, there develops a strong determination to accomplish what needs to be accomplished. On another aspect, people tend to ignore their experiences and where they come from. Wheatley teaches us that by being honoring our experiences and our past, we become more appreciative of the present and the future. Only when people accept the life that he has that a greater and more positive dream is realized.
Bradstreet, A. (1666). Here Follow Some Verses upon the Burning of Our House, July 10, 1666.
Wheatley, P., & Wheatley, P. (1995). Poems of Phillis Wheatley (1st ed.). Bedford, Mass.: Applewood Books.