The governing notion of a poem is represented by the poem's core subject. This concept is built and developed throughout the poem, and it may be discovered by examining the poem's rhythm, setting, tone, mood, diction, and, on occasion, title. A poem's core subject can be a person, place, thing, or idea, depending on what kind of poem it is.
Poetry is an art form that uses words to express ideas through images or music. Poets develop their own language to accomplish this task. Rhyme, alliteration, meter, and syntax are some of the tools used by poets to convey meaning in poems.
Overall messages can be found in many different ways within poems. Sometimes they're obvious; other times they're not. But no matter how you look at it, a poem's main idea will always remain the same: something unique about life, love, humanity, etc.
The core topic of the poem may be identified by the reader by evaluating the poem's rhythms, moods, and sounds, as well as its meter, diction, and word choice. Instead than focusing on just one or two stanzas or aspects, the poem's major subject combines and expresses the poem's overall values. The theme of this poem is friendship.
By analyzing different words in the poem, it becomes clear that the theme is about friendship. Words such as "friend" and "friendship" appear many times throughout the poem. Also, the first line states that "friends are rare" which shows that the author is saying that friends are not common. This idea is confirmed later in the poem when it says, "No man is an island."
Another way to identify the theme of the poem is by reading between the lines. Some readers think about what the poet was not able to say due to the limits of space or time. For example, during some of the periods in history when slavery existed, people used to say that "all men are created equal" but the true meaning of this statement was not given until after the Civil War.
This line tells us that when we keep quiet, we are being dishonest. Only true friends tell the whole truth even if it hurts others' feelings.
The topic of a poem is its fundamental notion, or "what it's about," if you will. Although many people object to poems being "about" something, the poet had something in mind when they were written, and that something is the core concept, whatever it is or could have been. For example, "Ode to a Nightingale" by John Keats is about beauty and death.
Many poems are about something other than their subject matter initially appears. For example, "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" by Samuel Taylor Coleridge is about loneliness and loss even though the mariner is on a ship with others all around him. Coleridge wrote this poem after he lost an argument with Charles Lamb and was feeling very lonely himself. In addition, many poems are about more than one thing at once, such as "In Time of War" by Emily Dickinson or "Fog" by John Donne. These poems can be interpreted as being about war or death, but also about love or faith, among other things.
Some poems are so abstract that they can't be tied down to one single idea. These poems are called "symbolic" because they use symbols as clues to what they're about. For example, "The Raven" by Edgar Allan Poe is a symbolic poem about greed even though there are no physical birds in it.
Theme is the lesson about life or statement about human nature that the poem expresses. To determine a theme, start by figuring out the main idea. This can be done by asking yourself these questions: What does the first line of the poem tell me about the theme? What does the last line of the poem tell me about the theme? What words or phrases are used to express the theme throughout the poem?
Next, go back and read the poem again. This time, look for clues as to what the author might have intended by writing the poem. For example, did the author use different words or expressions than usual or something unusual (such as using the present tense) to make a point? Was there anything in the poem that didn't seem necessary for telling the story? These types of questions will help you identify the theme of the poem.
Last, check with other readers to make sure you've interpreted the poem's message correctly. No single reader should try to interpret a poem on his or her own. It helps if one or more other readers review the poem with you before you commit it to memory. That way you can discuss any differences of opinion and come to a mutual understanding about how to best interpret the poem.