Unlike other literary forms, poems do not convey direct messages. They always have hidden meanings, which require the readers to use their wits in order to crack them. These meanings of a poem are made clearer by the use of poetic devices. Poetic devices are used in poems in order to offer explanations to issues, which are difficult to comprehend. They also make the poem more appealing. It is possible to find a number of poems which share the same devices. The three poems discussed in this essay are a perfect example of this. All three of them have widely used imagery in their explanations. Imagery is a poetic device, which involves creating mental pictures in the mind of the reader. It is not only limited to pictures, but also includes sounds and tastes. It explains things and situations in a way that the reader can visualize. Therefore, it enables the reader to relate what is in text to what he or she already knows. This makes the poem much easier to comprehend. It also makes the poem much more appealing and attractive to the reader.
The first poem is “Marks” by Linda Pastan. The writer of the poem uses imagery to explain how other people view the lady. The author uses marks and a grading system, which is easily understandable by the reader to explain other people’s views on the persona. This is of an immense importance in the poem, since it creates mental pictures and attitudes in the reader’s mind. For example, the person says, ‘My husband gives me an A for last night’s supper, an incomplete for my ironing, a B plus in bed’. From this, the reader can already think about the smell of the supper. It must have been a delicious supper with a tantalizing aroma. This is because it has been awarded the best grade there is. It is therefore easily understood instead of using many words, which might not be understood by the reader. The use of imagery here also makes the poem more attractive and, therefore, it captures the mind of the reader. If the writer went on to use massive descriptions, it would have been less appealing. On the other hand, an incomplete in ironing gives another picture. It tells of an incomplete job, which is not done to perfection. Therefore, the reader pictures half-ironed clothes and already knows how they looked like. This also makes the poem more appealing.
The next poem is ”The Victims” by Sharon Olds. This poem talks about a dad who is not liked or adored by his wife and kids. This is because of the bad things that he had done to his wife. These included being glad when his wife divorced him. The writer of this poem has also used imagery widely. For example, she talks about their dad being fired. The family is said to have grinned just like people did when Nixon’s helicopter lifted off. The reader would only have to picture the amusement of the people who saw the helicopter lift off. This way, he or she can understand how happy the kids felt when their dad was fired. Therefore, the imagery used here makes the meaning more vivid. It also makes it more compelling, as the writer pictures the faces of people as the helicopter lifted off. On another instance, the person says, “those dark carcasses hung in your closet”. This creates a picture in the reader’s mind. He or she can visualize a terribly lonely closet such that its silence can only be compared to that of a carcass. Through this imagery, the understanding of the reader is enhanced, and his attention is captured more. With the visual images, it becomes fascinating to read the poem and understand it at the same time. Therefore, imagery is an indispensable device in this poem as well.
The last of the poems is “Hanging fire” by Audre Lorde. The writer of this poem also uses imagery widely. For example, the writer describes the condition of the knees of the boy. She compares them to ashes. This creates a picture in the mind of the reader with an immediate effect. The reader can visualize how dirty the boy was and, therefore, get to understand the poem better. This use of imagery helps the writer know the characters of the poem better. This increases the understanding of the whole poem. On another point, the poem says ‘My room is too small for me’. This sets the reader into thinking. How can a room be too small for a boy, who is still sucking his thumb? The reader can visualize the size of that room. Through that, he or she can judge the problems that the little boy was going through. Therefore, the use of imagery here also increases the understanding of the poem. It also makes it more appealing for the reader. It is clear that it is an essential device in this poem as well as others.
From the above illustrations, it is clear that imagery is a powerful device in all of the three poems. Direct explanations used in the poems create mental pictures, which aid to the better understanding of the poem. Similes and metaphors also create mental pictures of objects and events. Therefore, they also use imagery. This is a widely used, as well as a significant poetic device that serves to make the poem more entertaining and understandable to the reader.