Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry: Explained, COMPASSION, by MILLER WILLIAMS



Poetry Explorer

Classic and Contemporary Poetry: Explained

COMPASSION, by                 Poet's Biography

"Compassion" is a poem by Miller Williams, an American poet known for his Southern sensibility and his commitment to social justice. The poem was published in his 1985 collection "Living With the Wrong Patsy".

Explanation:

Compassion" is a poem that emphasizes the importance of empathy and compassion towards others. The speaker begins by describing a man on a street corner holding a sign that says "I will work for food." The speaker urges the reader to give the man something, not just because he needs it, but because it's the compassionate thing to do.

The poem's central theme is the importance of compassion and empathy in understanding and alleviating the suffering of others. The poem encourages the reader to contemplate the importance of compassion in their own lives and the ways in which it can facilitate empathy and understanding.

The poem goes on to explain that withholding compassion from someone in need is the cruelest thing you can do. The speaker suggests that compassion is not just about providing material aid, but also about acknowledging someone's pain and suffering, and taking the time to understand their struggles.

The poem concludes with the speaker urging the reader to practice compassion in their own lives, and to be mindful of the ways in which they can alleviate the suffering of others. The poem suggests that by practicing compassion, we can make the world a better and more just place for all.

Poetic Elements:

  • Form: Free verse
  • Structure: One long stanza
  • Rhyme: None
  • Meter: None
  • Imagery: Empathy, pain, suffering
  • Language: Simple and direct
  • Tone: Compassionate and empathetic

Conclusion:

"Compassion" is a compassionate and empathetic poem that explores the themes of compassion and empathy. Through its use of simple language and vivid imagery, the poem encourages the reader to contemplate the importance of compassion in their own lives and the ways in which it can facilitate empathy and understanding, ultimately inspiring the reader to embrace the transformative power of compassion.

Poem Snippet:

"If you see a man standing on a street corner

holding a sign that says "I will work for food,"

and you don't give him anything, you don't know

what you're doing. You're not just withholding

food or money, you're withholding compassion,

and that's the cruelest thing you can do."


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