The Desperation of Losing and Describe Yourself and Wanting to Belong in the Poems and Songs

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Poems and songs often share a similar tone that express what the writer was feeling at the time it was written. Their emotions could include love, desire, hope, loss, sadness, change, or fear to name a few. Even though the basis of the poem could be the same as many other poems, the writer’s unique expression of emotions would make it their own. To demonstrate this point, I have chosen two poems. The first is titled “One Art” by Elizabeth Bishop written in 1976 and “By Accident” by Julia Alvarez written in 2004. The song chosen is “Hear Me” by Kelly Clarkson that she released in 2004. All three works show similar themes of feeling lost and wanting to belong.

The first time I read the Ode poem “One Art” by Elizabeth Bishop, I assumed the poem was simply about losing things. Digging deeper into the words the second time, I realized how often the author used the words master and disaster. By the third time I read the poem I realized the author’s expression of heartbreak. First off, Bishop goes into talking about losing simple things like a set of keys or forgetting places where she had been before. “Lose something everyday./Accept the fluster of lost door keys, the hour badly spent” (Bishop, Line 4-5).

As Bishop goes on, you can see her adding in more substantial things; her mother’s watch, meaningful places she has visited. Bishop states, “I miss them, but it wasn’t a disaster” (Line 15). At the end of the poem, you can see what she was thinking in her writing of this poem. It is not simply about losing things, but losing someone she loved deeply. Bishop’s biography on Poetry Foundation describes her themes often looking for a sense of belonging replacing that with her feelings of being lost.

In the second poem, “By Accident”, Julia Alvarez gives us her narrative of how she behaved in her younger days to make herself happy. As she recited lullabies to comfort herself, her sisters found the behavior distasteful and strange. Alvarez writes, “Whitman’s Song of Myself not the best lullaby, I now admit,/ or Chaucer in Middle English which caused many a nightmare fight” (Line 13-16). The narrator seems to become tired of the fighting with her sisters and soon conforms to how her family wants her to act. In the process, she loses her true self and the very things that make her happy.

Alvarez ends her poem like so: “Keep it to yourself!” my mother said, which more than anything anyone in my childhood advised turned me to this paper solitude where I both keep things secret and broadcast, my heart for all the world to read. And so, through many drafts, I became the woman I kept to myself as I lay awake on that dark bedroom, with the lonesome sound of their soft breathing as my sister slept. (Line 21-30). Even the narrator’s mother has told her to be quiet and not bother people with her reciting of poems. As the poems ends, it shows that she has, in fact, lost her true self as she conforms to a behavior approved by her family; exactly like them.

Kelly Clarkson sings a song titled “Hear Me.” The pain is clear in her voice as she sings. As with the two poems, Clarkson sings that no one is listening to her and her feelings of being lost within a relationship. At first, she states that “I used to be scared of letting someone in/ but it gets so lonely/ being on my own” (Clarkson, Line 26-29). Clarkson sings that she changed herself and opened herself up to love, but after she changed her love ignores her. Now that he has changed her into what he wanted, he is ready to discard her. The song ends with the artist repeating the song titled over and over again, fading out into nothing; her voice cracking.

All three works describe the desperation of losing yourself in order to fit into someone else’s idea of who you should be. Once the changes has been made and you conform to another’s preference, however, you lose everything. It appears that each of these authors gave up everything in order to conform to another person’s ideal and in the process lost everything, the very essence of who they are.


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The Desperation of Losing and Describe Yourself and Wanting to Belong in the Poems and Songs. (2022, Dec 30). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/the-desperation-of-losing-and-describe-yourself-and-wanting-to-belong-in-the-poems-and-songs/

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