Part 1: Subject Matter
Love and relationships appears to be a subject that touched the heart of Gary. Most of his poems revolve around the subject of love and the efforts of people to relate with those around them. The innocence of love relationships especially to young children who are growing and the fears that the adults have when they think of rejection has been perfectly addressed in Gary’s poems. The poem, oranges focus on two lovebirds in their early teens as they make sacrifices just to be with each other. The innocence and determination that has been displayed in their relationships through the poem makes one reminiscence on the past. Gary uses the poem to stress on the fact that each person desires to find some true love somewhere. In most cases, lovers will always be ready to sacrifice for each other just to feel the care.
‘Partly Cloudy: Poems of Love and Longing’ and ‘her’ is another collection of poems by Gary that talk about love relationships. Love is the most amazing feeling of all time, which is displayed differently based on gender and age of the individual. A clear distinction of gender has been facilitated by dividing the collection into two parts. Gary has done a critical analysis of how men and women react in matters that concern love. As displayed by Gary, love relationships sprout and flourish during teenage years. Teenage is a period of discovery, this is when there is a longing for a girl and boy to find fulfilment, affection and acceptance through a member of the opposite sex. As a teenage discovers himself and herself, there is a feeling of impressing the opposite sex which makes her/him work more t improving themselves. The shift from childhood to adulthood brings in a mix of childish behaviour in a seemingly mature manner makes the whole idea of teenage relationships interesting. ‘Who will know us’ is another sentimental poem from Gary that focuses on loss. Compared to the above poems whose sentiments are on love relationships, ‘who will know us’ is the feeling that comes from the loss of a loved one. There is usually a deep attraction that people develop towards each other, the gap that is left once they are gone remains like a deep wound to their friends and loved ones. The poem describes the feeling that a person who has lost a loved one feels. The only thing that a person has to hold unto after such loss are the memories, which even though painful, act as a perfect antidote for curing the grief. The subject matter of relationships is significant to Gary in that they form part of our day-to-day life. Relationships are hence a central focus of most of Gary’s poems.
Part 2: Form
The most distinctive feature I noticed in Gary’s poems is that they focus on relationship life issues. Unlike many other poems that I have read that are full of symbolism and fantasy, Gary’s poems are written in standard language and directly touch on the issues of life. The poems have been written in a manner that makes it easy for a person to get the message that is being conveyed. Most poets prefer to have a hidden message in their poem and mostly touching on a sensitive issue. Such a style of writing leaves the audience with many questions and probable guess of what the author was communicating.
Gar’s poems focus on relationships and the memories that they leave people with especially during their childhood. For instance, when you read the poem ‘oranges’, there are sweet memories of childhood romance and the commitment that is revealed through the innocent lives. Such poems are suitable not only to the young but also to the old. The central focus being on children who may not necessarily be interested in reading the poems only act as a perfect reminder to the adults of their childhood days. Gary not only focuses on the intimacy of the lovers but also on the environment that surrounded such romance. Gary’s poems have vivid description of the climate and the environment that makes almost every adult look back in the days and cherishes such memories.
‘One kind of faith’ and ‘water and light’ are poems collection that focuses on the psychological needs of an individual. The poems have a thought provoking message that leaves the audience thinking about their personal life. Reading most of Gary’s poems, I realise that they are not so much into poetic features such as rhyme, irony or symbolism. However, there is a lot of melancholy which is conveyed in the relationships that the characters had with their past. Gary’s message seems to revolve on the importance and uniqueness of relationships at any stage of their life. Life is all about how people relate with one another and those who have mastered the art of giving themselves to others enjoy fulfilling relationships. There are unique memories that people we relate with leave in our lives that cannot be compared to any material wealth we can have. It is hence necessary to spend more of our time building relationships rather than spending in on material gain.
Part 3: Response
I enjoyed reading Gary’s poems simply because I could easily associate and relate with them. Despite the fact that that they were set in specific environments, the story lines and subject matter are general and relate to a general audience. A person reading the poems will not have to scratch his or her head with an effort to understand the specific message of the poem. Gary made sure that his poems have a direct message and lesson to the audience. The only thought provoking experience that Gary has exposed his audience to is that of reflecting on their life and the best way to spend most of the time. Even though little poetic features have been used in the poems, they are both entertaining and educative. They are full of humour and childhood memories that make one smile through as they read them.
I found the poems informative and thought provoking especially in relation to the current world where people have become too busy with material pursuit that they take relationships for granted. It is unfortunate that most of the events that revolve around relationships feature only as childhood memories rather than part of our daily lives. Many people are living lonely lives simply because they have chosen material wealth over establishing relationships. Technology is one of the biggest contributors of lonely and unhealthy lives among individuals. It appears as if each person understands the greatest need of their hearts yet they are not willing to sacrifice some little time to spend with their families. A general excuse that is used by people is on the highs standards of living that leave parents with no alternative but to work more to take care of their families.
It has become rare to find children freely interacting with one another as they are locked in their houses citing security reasons. The courage that children as young as twelve years had to walk out of their houses in their rain and play with their neighbours has remained to be an ancient memory. Instead of outdoor games, children are kept busy with electronic materials, which the parents believe will increase their intellectual ability. The world currently focuses more on the intellectual growth of children rather than their social growth. This has created a social crisis among children and even adults as most people die of lifestyle related diseases. For instance, lack of external exposure to outdoor activities denies young children the playful ingredient that is important for their growth.
Obesity, diabetes and many other diseases that affect the normal health of individuals remain to be the biggest cause of death in modern life. Lack of avenues to release stress that comes with daily life is also leading to deaths such as suicide and heart attack. All this problems, as emphasized by Gary in his poems could be solved if people cherished the relationships they have ignored for long. It is possible for people to not only read memories of sentimental relationships in books but also instead make them a reality. Relationships are all about trust, which has to involve a lot of sacrifices and risks. People will only be required to take time off their busy schedules and concentrate in building family and friendship relations.