Through a series of five distinct and powerful stanzas, the poet takes the reader on a journey that is by turns introspective, dreamlike, grounded, and ambiguous.
The poem employs a range of literary devices and techniques, including metaphor, allusion, and repetition, to create a vivid and immersive experience that invites the reader to contemplate the nature of existence and the role of the poet in capturing and reflecting upon the human condition.
I, the Poet Leonard GorskiI, the poet, wandering and amazedNailed by unhappiness to the wallBy age and poverty,On which floor of stupidity or ignorance I dwell?I don't know,However, I count beads of the wordsAs rosary,In Hope of RedemptionAnd attain light of elevationAll covered with Serenity.Consistent and quiet with myself alone,As the greatest longing for Purity -Which one touches the World by the wise look.In my dreams, I'm wanderingAmong the shady palm trees alleys,Where my beautiful, forever Nefertiti -Who never get old,She calms wrinkled surface of the waterAnd inserts hand inside familiar gesture,Bowing her headTo bless Buddha and the whole Kingdom.Hiding in her bosomThe script of The United Elements, andPapyrus of The Secret Proportion,Silences her existenceIn front of the threshold at Highest Meditation.At the same timeOn the bank of the river NilePeasant washes his food,Squeezes thorn from his heelWhole in the prayer and pain.The countless form of existenceIn the Total Kingdom of Being and Suffering,In the Space of Vanished Events.In vain to lookIn the scrolls of the treasuresLibrary of AlexandriaSimple prescription.
Explore I, the Poet
‘I, the Poet’ by Leonard Gorski is a reflective poem about a poet who feels trapped by unhappiness due to old age and poverty.
Despite this, he finds solace in counting words like a rosary, hoping for redemption and purity. In his dreams, he wanders with Nefertiti, finding solace in her calming presence.
Meanwhile, a peasant on the banks of the Nile prays through his pain. The poem highlights the countless forms of existence in the Total Kingdom of Being and Suffering. In the end, the poet finds that there is no simple prescription for his unhappiness and chooses to remain consistent and quiet with himself, hoping to attain serenity.
Structure and Form
‘I, the Poet’ by Leonard Gorski is a five-stanza poem that is divided into uneven stanzas. The first and second stanzas are thirteen words long, the third is: five, the fourth: three, and the final stanza is four lines long. The poem is in free verse, which means that it does not follow a specific rhyme or metrical pattern.
- Metaphor: this is a comparison between two things that doesn’t use “like” or “as.” For example, the poet compares his counting of words to a rosary, which is a metaphor for the religious act of prayer.
- Imagery: imagery includes examples of particularly interesting and evocative subject matter. For example, shady palm trees, alleys, the wrinkled surface of the water, and the Library of Alexandria.
- Allusion: an allusion is a reference to something outside the poem’s direct context. For example, the poet alludes to Buddha, the Library of Alexandria, and Nefertiti, all of which are historical or cultural references.
- Symbolism: symbolism is seen when the poet imbues objects, people, experiences, etc., with meaning. For example, the beads of words, Nefertiti, and the peasant washing his food are all symbolic representations of the poet’s search for purity and redemption.
I, the poet, wandering and amazed
Nailed by unhappiness to the wall
By age and poverty,
On which floor of stupidity or ignorance I dwell?
I don’t know,
However, I count beads of the words
In Hope of Redemption
And attain light of elevation
All covered with Serenity.
Consistent and quiet with myself alone,
As the greatest longing for Purity –
Which one touches the World by the wise look.
The first stanza of ‘I, the Poet’ introduces the speaker, who identifies himself as a wandering and amazed poet. He expresses a sense of being “nailed by unhappiness to the wall,” which leads to his suggestion that he feels trapped and unable to move forward due to old age and poverty.
The line “On which floor of stupidity or ignorance I dwell?” is a rhetorical question that emphasizes the speaker’s uncertainty about his place in the world. He admits to not knowing where he stands, which highlights his sense of disorientation and confusion.
The metaphorical comparison of counting words to a rosary implies that the speaker’s words are a form of prayer or meditation. He hopes that through his words, he can attain redemption and elevate his consciousness to a higher level.
The stanza’s conclusion includes the phrase “consistent and quiet with myself alone,” which suggests that the speaker has resigned himself to his current situation and finds solace in his introspection. He longs for purity, which he believes can be achieved through contemplation, and suggests that wise individuals can touch the world through their inner reflections. He’s looking inward for some kind of understanding in life.
In my dreams, I’m wandering
Among the shady palm trees alleys,
Where my beautiful, forever Nefertiti –
Who never get old,
She calms wrinkled surface of the water
And inserts hand inside familiar gesture,
Bowing her head
To bless Buddha and the whole Kingdom.
Hiding in her bosom
The script of The United Elements, and
Papyrus of The Secret Proportion,
Silences her existence
In front of the threshold at Highest Meditation.
The second stanza begins with a description of the speaker’s dreams, in which he finds himself wandering through palm tree alleys. The dream-like setting contrasts with the earlier sense of being trapped in reality, suggesting that the speaker finds a form of escape through his imagination.
The speaker encounters Nefertiti, who is described as beautiful and forever young, and who calms the wrinkled surface of the water. This can be seen as a metaphor for the speaker’s desire for peace and serenity in his life.
Nefertiti is also depicted as bowing her head to bless Buddha and the whole Kingdom, which implies a sense of universal benevolence and spiritual transcendence. This is also a very unexpected combination of places, religions, and people.
This is further emphasized by the fact that she is hiding the script of The United Elements and Papyrus of The Secret Proportion in her bosom, which suggests that she possesses ancient knowledge and wisdom.
Next, the poet writes, “Silences her existence / In front of the threshold at Highest Meditation,” which implies that Nefertiti is able to achieve a state of complete stillness and tranquility through meditation. This reinforces the idea of the pursuit of inner peace and wisdom that is present throughout the poem (and is seen at the end of the first stanza).
At the same time
On the bank of the river Nile
Peasant washes his food,
Squeezes thorn from his heel
Whole in the prayer and pain.
The third stanza is the shortest of the poem so far, lasting only five lines. It introduces a contrasting image to the dream-like setting of the previous stanza. The speaker describes a peasant washing his food on the bank of the river Nile.
The mention of a peasant in this stanza can be seen as a symbol of the everyday struggles and hardships that people face and a very clear contrast with Nefertiti, a queen of Egypt. This image contrasts with the previous stanza’s focus on spiritual transcendence and universal wisdom, reminding the reader that such ideals are not always accessible to everyone.
The phrase “Squeezes thorn from his heel / Whole in the prayer and pain” suggests that the peasant is in physical discomfort, yet he endures the pain with a sense of religious devotion or resignation. This further emphasizes the idea of finding solace in suffering, which is a theme that runs throughout the poem. It’s likely that the poet’s speaker was inspired by this idea of religious devotion and saw something admirable in it.
The countless form of existence
In the Total Kingdom of Being and Suffering,
In the Space of Vanished Events.
The fourth stanza is a tercet, meaning that it is three lines long. presents a philosophical reflection on the nature of existence. The stanza begins with the phrase “The countless form of existence,” which suggests that there are many different forms of being in the world and that the speaker respects this.
The next line, “In the Total Kingdom of Being and Suffering,” seems to acknowledge that existence is not always easy or pleasant and that suffering is an integral part of the human experience. This line reinforces the themes of pain and hardship that are present throughout the poem.
The final line, “In the Space of Vanished Events,” is somewhat enigmatic, but it can be interpreted as a reference to the fleeting nature of existence. It suggests that events and experiences come and go, leaving only traces behind. This could be why the poet’s speaker focused on images from ancient Egypt.
In vain to look
In the scrolls of the treasures
Library of Alexandria
The final stanza is a short and cryptic statement that serves as a conclusion to the poem. The phrase “In vain to look” suggests that the speaker has been searching for something but has been unable to find it.
The next line, “In the scrolls of the treasures/ Library of Alexandria,” refers to the ancient library of Alexandria, which was renowned for its vast collection of books and knowledge. This line suggests that the speaker has been searching for answers or wisdom in books or knowledge.
The final line, “Simple prescription,” is somewhat ambiguous, but it can be interpreted as a comment on the limitations of knowledge and the inadequacy of simple solutions to complex problems. It suggests that there are no easy answers to the questions that the poet has been grappling with throughout the poem.
Taken together, the final stanza seems to suggest that the search for meaning and wisdom is a difficult and ongoing process that does not necessarily have a clear endpoint or resolution. It emphasizes the importance of continuing to search for answers, even when they seem elusive or difficult to find.
The theme of ‘I, the Poet’ is complex and multi-layered, but it can be summarized as a meditation on the nature of existence and the search for meaning in a world marked by suffering and transience. The poem explores the experiences of the poet, who is grappling with poverty, age, and unhappiness, and who seeks solace and redemption through his art.
The tone of ‘I, the Poet’ is introspective, contemplative, and philosophical. The poem presents a series of reflections and meditations on the nature of existence, the role of the poet, and the search for meaning and purpose in a world marked by suffering and transience.
This is a free verse poem that does not follow a strict rhyme scheme or metrical pattern. Instead, the poem relies on the use of figurative language, vivid imagery, and thematic repetition to create a sense of unity and coherence.
‘I, the Poet’ is a poem about the nature of existence and the role of the poet in making sense of the world. The speaker, who identifies himself as a poet, reflects on his own experiences and the challenges of life, including poverty, aging, and unhappiness.
Readers who enjoyed this poem should also consider reading some related poems. For example:
- ‘If Ever the Lid Gets off my Head‘ by Emily Dickinson – is a thought-provoking poem. In it, the poet makes a distinction between her mind and common sense.
- ‘Growing Old’ by Matthew Arnold – is about the reality of aging and how one’s youthful expectations will not be fulfilled as one’s body loses beauty and strength.
- ‘Footsteps of Angels’ by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow – is a poem about religion, the past, and the afterlife.