About Poems

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Poems are used as a form of social commentary, criticizing events in the society or within the person. Poetry is used to raise the consciousness of various facets of politics, life, and marriage, as well as to critique various aspects of society. Their primary motivation for writing these poems is to effect social change. Poetry raises many topics of applications to human life and culture, making it an essential medium of expression and education in those cultures. In other cases, poetry is used as a way of entertainment. All these themes are everywhere in the world. Some of the poems in the society today mainly reflect on the concept of the culture and how it relates to the human activities and his views on the aspects of leadership, politics, corruption, love, despair and how they affect his wellbeing. Poetry is, therefore, a means of communication of the psychological perspective of the poet to the society. Depending on the persona in the poem, the idea raised can apply to the relevant members of that community. Some poems apply to couples in marriage, children or the political leaders. In this study, therefore two poems will be considered, and various aspects on how they relate and vary are discussed. Both poems are by Charles Bukowski.

"Bluebird," Charles Bukowski

The poem Bluebird talks about a person who is afraid to bring out his hidden personality to the outside. He, however, retains the secret part of him within. The metaphorical “bluebird” refers to this character that he does not want to show the world. He strains to remain active by restraining his feelings on the outside. The persona fears that in case the personality is released or known to the world, it would affect the world’s perception of himself. The persona expresses the various ways he uses to hide this personality. Using alcohol and smoking. These activities can be related to most of the individual in the society who turn to substance abuse to address their fears, pain or anger rather than face them. However, as is always the case, he later lets the birds out by admitting the sadness and tolerating himself to antagonize his emotions at night. Nonetheless, he couldn't allow himself to be emotional or cry. He has very painful secrets deep inside his heart and could not handle them. He feels like the bluebird inside himself is very powerful and want to depart from his heart. The persona aspires to be his true self but has a great fear that he won't be able to control himself. He ends up lying to himself on how tough he is; he only let himself be or feel real when he is in solitude.

The writer of this poem uses an aghast tone throughout the poem; the persona is stunned by his situation. I would infer him as bold; he can hide his emotions while he is around people. In the poem, the persona is speaking to himself. The poem has some repetition; he is repeating the words “there is a bluebird in my heart that/wants to get out/but I'm too tough for him.” Through repetition, he is emphasizing on what is going happening on his hidden self. He is referring to his emotions where he masks his innermost feelings from the outside world. The persona uses the daily language used by people from their everyday experiences. These words are sufficient since almost everybody in the society can understand since this case happens every day to different people. The Bluebird is a metaphor for the writer's hidden personality traits, emotions in the poem; he ought to express his feelings but fears that he will be mocked and be held down upon in society. This poem has various themes, depression, loneliness, and escapism, the poet has very painful secrets but hides them to appear fit and be accepted in the society. The poem is aimed at individuals in the community with the different personality, as is the case. The difference between what is seen and what is the reality is the main agenda in the poem.

“The Man with the Beautiful Eyes,” Charles Bukowski

The man with the beautiful eyes is a poem that describes the idea of loneliness in the society and how it can result in self-destruction. The poem describes a house where a man lives and the children are asked by their parents to stay away from that house. However as is always the case with the kids, they shun the idea of their parents' instructions and play around the house. They only saw the man once. His bloodshot eyes, because of the whiskey drinking and smoking he used, made the kids think was beautiful. The irony, in this case, is that the persona describes this eyes, because of the drug use, as being beautiful. He takes the idea that the parents were against the idea of being around the house due to the beauty of the life of the man.

The tone of the poem is aspirational. It involves the kids, persona and the other children looking forward to living such lives as the man and have such “beautiful eyes” as he did. This according to them was something to look out to being rather than the advice of their parents. The poem raises the concept of loneliness in the society too. “the man with the beautiful eyes” lives a secluded life which makes him suffer alone. The man later disappears together with the goldfish. This can be probably through death. The kids, however, do not realize this and only perceive the idea of the burnt house and the lost goldfish that was friendly because of their parents’ jealousy on the man’s “beautiful eyes.”

Similarities between the two poems.

The two poems describe a case of solitude in the society and the activities that result in these situations in the individuals affected. A similarity on the use of drugs is noted since both main characters in the poem are described as using alcohol and smoking cigars. The idea of solitude in both poems is depicted to cause harm to the individual. In the case of the “blue bird,” the person tends to avoid revealing his personality since it would “affect his sales… in Europe”. In the case of the “man with the beautiful eyes” the personal claims, he has not seen again after the house was burnt.

The difference between the two poems.

In the bluebird poem, the persona is also the main character in the poem is referring to. It involves a description of oneself which results in the idea of the personality of the persona being the main idea discussed. In the poem, the “man with the beautiful eyes” the persona is the observer. He describes the case of the main character affected by the solitude in the society he is living in.


Both poems depict a state of the psychological perspective of the persona rather than the idea of the effect the different themes have in the society. This is at par with the thesis raised in the study that “Poems are mostly used to express one’s psychological perspectives on the society and how they affect the individual’s personalities than to address the challenges in the same society.” Both characters in the poems are faced with the same problem and how to solve it possess the challenge. Despite one of the characters ending up dead, the idea of solitude is perceived as being on both poems, and the effects it has on the individuals affected can only be described as destructive.

Summary article.

An article by Ardin Lalui titled “Loneliness and Waitresses: Tom Waits and Charles Bukowski” (Lalui)describes the idea of loneliness and how most of the people, especially men, in this case, address the challenge. The people mentioned in this case discuss the idea of isolation using the waitresses in the restaurants. The interaction with the servers is the only way they consider the case of solitary confinement. The article relates to the poems in one instance that the society lonely. The people suffer from this case loneliness, and the result is that they experience various challenges. Since the general community has neglected these people, they end up devising ways to address the situations of solitude and loneliness such as the interaction with the waitresses. In the first poem, “Bluebird," the persona addresses his solitude through the taking of alcohol and interacting with people through his alter ego that hides his personality. In the second poem “The Man with the Beautiful Eyes,” the man interacts with the children only at one instance, the parents ask their kids to avoid the house he lives in which is also an indication of the case of neglect leading to loneliness. The articles address similarly the poems the concepts and the methods through which different people respond to their states of solitude. Some using casual interaction, speaking to the children in the “man with the beautiful eyes” and the interaction with the waitresses in the article. Despite the differences in the way the characters address their loneliness, the idea of being lonely in the society is described to be existent therefore making the theme something existing and affecting the people in it. This leads some in adopting personalities that would be acceptable in the society they are in, “bluebird.”

Works Cited

Lalui, Ardin. Loneliness and Waitresses: Tom Waits and Charles Bukowski. 2010. http://www.beatdom.com/loneliness-and-waitresses-tom-waits-and-charles-bukowski/. 28 March 2017.

November 03, 2022

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