You are on page 1of 41

What is a poem

A poem is a piece of writing that is written in verse form.


It uses imaginative language to express feelings and ideas.
It usually incorporates a literal and figurative meaning and
some writing techniques, which known as literary devices
such as metaphor, personification, simile, imagery and so on.

Elements of a Poem

BACKGROUND

Poets background
Subject matter
For whom the poem is
written

SETTING

Time
Place

THEME(s)

The speaker in the


poem

MORAL VALUES

What we can learn


from the poem

Place
STRUCTURE &

Main idea(s)

TONE & MOOD

PERSONA

The personas voice or


attitude
The overall feeling of the

STYLE

Arrangements of
lines
Choice of words

SAD I AMS
BY TREVOR MILLUM

Warm-Up Questions

Sad I Ams

1. Look at the emoticon. What is the expression?


___________________________________
2. When do you show this expression?
___________________________________
3. Have you ever felt sad before?
___________________________________
4. When do you feel sad?
___________________________________
5. How do you feel when you are being neglected?
________________________________________________________________
6. Do you still keep your old and unwanted belongings? Why?
________________________________________________________________
7. What would you do with your unwanted things?
________________________________________________________________
8. Look around. Is there any rubbish around you? Why do you have to throw the
rubbish?
________________________________________________________________
9. Imagine that you are a correction tape, what will happen to you in the end? Why do
you think so?
________________________________________________________________
10. What do you think about the title of the poem?
________________________________________________________________

SAD I AMS

By Trevor
Millum

About The Author

TREVOR MILLUM
Trevor Millum was born in the United Kingdom. He is a writer of poems, plays
and stories for all ages, from children to adult. He is currently self-employed and
has written widely on poetry, creativity and the use of information and
communications technology in English.
His poetry collections include A
Stegosaurus is for Life and other animal poems and Exploding Heads Comic Strip
Poems. He is an ex-English teacher and was a Director of the National
Association for the Teaching of English. He has his own website called The
Mouse and The Muse.

Summary Of The Poem


The persona in the poem conveys his feeling of sadness and of being neglected.
To express these feelings, he compares himself with several things found in the
home. Some of the things are a metal ring from a drink can and food scrapings
from an unwashed porridge pan which are usually discarded.
Broken parts of discarded last years Action Man are usually thrown out too. Only
envelopes with gums are useful. Sticky tapes, a stapleless stapler, a broken
bulldog clip, and liquid paper are popular items in our stationery aids. However,
they are only useful if they are serviceable.
The same goes with parts of a car. The battery must be well-charged and the
starter motor workable for the car to work well. A lifeless spark plug , a chocked
carburettor and a dull chromium trim all add up to an unattractive car. The
persona feels like an unkempt garden, an untouched library book, and an unfed
stray on the street or an unneeded piece of good advice.

Elements of The Poem


PERSONA
1. The gender of the persona is not mentioned. However, based on comparison made, it
can be assumed that the persona is an elderly person.

TONE & MOOD


1. The tone of this poem is gloomy and depressing.
2. The poem evokes a feeling of sympathy and sad especially within a family.

POINT OF VIEW
1. First person point of view as the persona talks about himself as feeling sad when he
compares himself with the things surrounding him.

SETTING
1. Time Frame : No specific time frame is mentioned. The persona is simply relating his or
her thoughts.
2. Place
: No specific place is mentioned.

THEMES
1. Rejection
The persona compares himself with unwanted things and this suggests that he has
faced rejection and feels unwanted in some ways.
2. Negligence of ones possessions
The discarded items appear to have been thoughtlessly thrown away and forgotten
which represent the personas feelings.
3. Feeling of uselessness
The items are considered unwanted because they appear to have run out of use and
this is similar to the personas situation where he feels that people no longer need
him. He feels unloved by family and friends.
4. Negativism about life
The persona starts to look at his life through a negative window because
he feels unwanted.

MORAL VALUES
Rejectio
n

1.
2.
3.
4.
5.

We should be positive about our status in life.


We should learn to recognise and value our abilities and possessions.
We should have faith in our family.
We should have confidence in ourselves.
We must be grateful for what we have rather than yearn for something different.

LITERARY DEVICES
1. Metaphor
A metaphor is a comparison between two unlike things without using the word like
or as to make the comparison.
The entire poem consists of metaphors where the persona likens himself/herself to
many unwanted things such as the ring from the empty can and a toothless
stapler .
2.

Imagery
The poem describes the unwanted items vividly that one is able to imagine them.
Eg : the scrapings from an unwanted porridge pan , the severed arm of last
years Action Man

3.

Repetition
Repetition of a sound, syllable, word, phrase, line or stanza is a basic unifying device
in all poetry.
The word I am is repeated at the beginning of every stanza to emphasize the
feelings of the poet who is trying to say he is as hopeless as all the things listed.
The word no one is repeated in lines 5,7 and 9 in stanza four.

4.

Personification
Personification is when you give human characteristics to objects that are not human
and usually the objects are not alive.
Eg : the carburetor choked itself by bits of dirt , the toothless stapler

5.

Assonance
Assonance is the repetition of vowel sounds in the words that are close to each other.
Eg : unwashed porridge pan , an empty Cola can

6.

Alliteration
Alliteration occurs when a series of words repeat the same consonants or sounds.
Eg : that mars instead of mends , the gum is gone

7.

Symbol
scrapings from an unwashed porridge pan is symbolic of something left behind
and utterly useless.
the Sellotape where you cant find the end is symbolic of the feelings of frustration.
STANZA
MEANING

STANZA 1
The persona is the ring from an empty
drink can, leftovers from an uncleaned
porridge pan and the broken arm of last
years action toy.

STANZA 2
The persona goes on to say that he or
she is like an assortment of unwanted
stationery items such as an envelope
that cannot be sealed as the gum is
gone, the roll of Sellotape which cannot
be peeled off, an empty stapler without
staples and a clip that has no spring,
liquid paper that is dry and a letter that
has not been sent.

STANZA 3
In this stanza, the persona likens
himself or herself to various parts of a
car. The persona is a battery that cannot
charge, a starter motor that does not
work, a bald tyre, a sparking plug with
no life, a dirty carburetor and not a too
shiny chromium trim.
STANZA 4
In the final stanza, the persona equates
himself/ herself to an overgrown garden,
a book from the library that no one picks
out, a hungry stray and an unheeded
piece of good advice.

Paraphrase of the Poem


9

Literal Meaning
In the poem, there are things that we do not want to keep or use any longer. The
persona says he is comparable to disposable household things and food. The
metal ring from an empty drink can, the broken part of an old toy or food
scrapings from a pot which are disposed daily. Some things have no value if they
are not workable or in their original state. An envelope with no gum is not
sealable. Sellotape that cannot be peeled off, a stapler without a staples, a
bulldog clip without a spring or a dried-up liquid paper is of no use. The persona
feels neglected like the stamped address reply, that the writer forgot to send out.
When things are not maintained and taken care of, they become unworkable.
The persona feels that way like a flat battery. A starter that cannot ignite, a bald
tyre, a non-working spark plug, a dirt-choked carburettor and a dull-looking
chromium trim. A car with these parts is of no use to the owner and the persona
feels the same way. The persona feels like a neglected garden, a library book
that is not read, a stray that is not fed or an advice that is totally ignored.
Basically, he feels rejected, useless, not cared for and has no place within the
family and society. The persona could be an orphan in an orphanage.

Figurative Meaning
In life, some things become insignificant because they are trivial or lacking in
importance. They may also become insignificant if they have no power, position
or value. We can see them as things that are not worthy to be mentioned. Some
of these may just be things that are small in size or not distinctive in character.
Within a family, at work place, and even in a society, a person may feel
unwanted and unneeded in different ways. One feels that one is disposable if
one feels like an unloved member of a family or an unproductive worker in a
workplace or an orphan in orphanage. There is no self-worth as one can be got
rid of whenever the opportunity arises. A person who is not contributing to the
growth of a family or society may feel unwanted. One may even be ignored or
side-lined even if one is willing to try again. A family can grow well and prosper
only if every member plays his or her part. Each and every member must be
nurtured and encouraged or inspired to make this contribution. So, one should
not be complacent and let things slide if one does not want to be overlooked and
left to ones devices. This is the time when one should wake up and work or one
will definitely be neglected.

10

Practice 1
Match the pictures with the lines from the poem.
1.

a.
the severed arm of
last
years Action Man

2.

b.
the envelope on
which gum is
gone

3.

c.
the ring from
an empty Cola
can

4.

d.

springless bulldog
clip
5.

e.
the scrapings from
an unwashed
porridge pan

6.

f.

the sellotape where


you cant find the
end

11

7.

g.

the toothless
stapler
8.

h.
the stamped
addressed reply
that you forgot

9.

i.

the battery in
which no charge
is left
10.

j.
the sparking plug
which shows no
sign and spark

11.

k.

the dried-up
liquid paper

12.

l.
the tyre on which
the tread is worn

13.

m.

12

the starter motor


which remains inert

14.

n.
a garden
overgrown with
weeds

15.

o.

a library book that


no one ever reads

16.

p.

the carburettor
choked by bits of
dirt

17.

q.

a piece of good
advice which no
one seems to need

18.

r.

the chromium trim


from which the
shine has gone

19.

s.

13

a stray which no
one thinks to
feed

Practice
Write True or False for the following statements.

1. Most drink cans are attached with a ring for opening


them.
2. We remove the scrapings from the pan before washing

it.

3. The arm from a toy had fallen off.


4. It is more convenient to use envelopes that have
no gum.
5. A bulldog clip that has no spring can be used.
6. A car cannot be started without a starter motor.
7. Liquid paper is used to underline important facts.
8. Strays depend on food scraps given out by kind
people.
9. A library book that is not read dis uninteresting.

10.Good advice are normally ignored.

14

Practice 3
Find words in the poem that have the meanings below.

1.

blocked

2. leftovers
3. guidance
4. filth
5. damages
6. vacant
7. response
8. sparkle
9. fixes
10. old
11. disappeared
12. being cut off
13. to give food

15

14. unable to move


15. an animal that has
no owner

16

Practice
Based on the poem, match the words in column A to the rhyming words in Column B.
Then read the words aloud.

Column a

Column b

1. arm

a. feed

2. clip

b. gone

3. dirt

c. farm

4. Man

d. reads

5. need

e. shirt

6. worn

f.

7. weeds

g. pan

8. spark

h. twice

9. gum

i.

trip

10.advice

j.

shark

lump

17

Practice 5

Complete the circle map


things mentioned in the

with unwanted
I-think
poem.

Unwanted
Things

18

19

Practice 6
Complete the crossword puzzle below.

20

Practice
Match the adjectives with nouns in the poem. The lists of words are given in the table below.
i-think

Nouns

: liquid paper, cola can, action man, stapler, scrapings,

Adjectives

: unwashed, empty, toothless, severed, dried-up

Adjective
s
Nouns

21

Practice 8
Read the text below. The first line is correct. For the remaining lines, there is ONE
error in each line. The errors have been underlined for you. Write ONE WORD to
correct the error in the space provided. An example has been given. The correct word
must not change the meaning of the sentence.

The persona in the poem tell of his feelings of sadness and being
neglected. To express these feelings, he compares (1) himselves to several
things found in the home. The metal ring from a drink (2) cans and food
scrapings from (3) a unwashed porridge pan are usually discarded. Broken
parts (4) in discarded last years Action Man are usually thrown out too.
Only (5) envelope with gum are useful. Sticky tapes, a stapleless stapler, a
broken bulldog clip and liquid paper (6) were popular items in our collection

e.g.
tells
a)
________
b) ________
c) ________
d) ________
e) ________

of(7) stationary aids. However, they are useful if they are serviceable. The

f)
_________

same (8) go for parts of a car. The battery must be well charged and the

g) ________

starter motor workable for the car to (9) works well. A lifeless sparking plug,

h) ________

(10) an choked carburetor and a dull chromium trim all add to make the car

i) ________

unattractive. The persona feels like an unkempt garden, an untouched

j) ________

library book and an unfed stray on the street or an unneeded piece of good
advice.

Practice

Fill in the blanks with the words found in the poem. Refer
to the pictures given.

22

The persona in the poem tells off his feeling of sadness and be neglected.
To express these feelings, he compares himself with several things that found in
the home. The (1)__________

from a drink can and food (2)____________

from an unwashed porridge pan are usually discarded.


(3)__________ parts of discarded last years Action Man are usually thrown out too.
Only(4)_____________

with gums are useful. Sticky tapes, a stapleless

stapler, a broken(5)_____________

clip, and liquid paper are popular items in

our stationery aids. However, they are useful if they are serviceable.
The same goes with parts of a car. The battery must be well-charged and
the(6)_________

workable for the car to work well. A lifeless sparkling

plug , a hocked carburettor and a dull chromium trim all add to make the car
unattractive. The persona feels like an unkempt garden, an untouched library
( 7 )___________

and an unfed ( 8 )_____________

on the street

or unneeded piece of good advice.

23

Practice 10
Match the following phrases to the correct literary devices. Write the
answers in the space provided.

the Sellotape where you cant find the end


the toothless stapler
the gum is gone
the springless bulldog
that mars instead of mends
scrapings from an unwashed porridge pan

Alliteration

1.
2.

Personafication

1.
2.

Symbol

1.
2.

24

Practice 11
Get into groups of four.
Give three ways we can
show our appreciation
to the elderly. Share
i-think
with the class.

How to Show Appreciation to the


Elderly

25

Practice 12
Have you ever felt unwanted? In about 50 words, write about a situation when
you felt unwanted. Describe what happened and how you
felt at that
time.

26

__________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________

CHECK YOUR UNDERSTANDING

__________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________

Test yourself.

1. Who is the poet?


______________________________________________________
2. How many stanzas are there in the poem?
______________________________________________________
3. Do you think the title is suitable to the poem? Why?
_____________________________________________________
4. What is the main idea of the poem?
_____________________________________________________
5. Give one moral value that you have learnt from the poem.
______________________________________________________
6. Do you like the poem? Why?
______________________________________________________
7. Describe the poem in one word.
______________________________________________________
8. How is the poem related to your own life?
______________________________________________________
9. What can you do with your unwanted things?
______________________________________________________
10. If you see a stray animal, what would you do?
______________________________________________________
27

11. Why do you think no one has ever read books from the library?
______________________________________________________
12. How do you reuse tyres?
______________________________________________________

PT3 PRACTICES

I am
the ring
from an empty Cola can
the scrapings
from an unwashed porridge pan
the severed arm
from the last years Action Man
Practic
e stanza
1
Read
1 of the poem carefully.

Then answer the following

questions.
a. In stanza 1, what does the pesona compare himself with?
___________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________( 1 mark)
b. Where do we find the things mentioned in this stanza?
___________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________(1 mark)
c. Why do you think the porridge pan is

dirty?

__________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________( 1 mark)
28

d. What could have caused the arm of Action Man to be severed? Give two
possible

reasons.

_________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________ (2 marks)

Practice 2
Read stanza 2 of the poem carefully. Then answer the following
questions.

I am
the envelope
on which the gum is gone the sellotape
where you cant find the end
the toothless stapler, springless bulldog
clip
the dried-up liquid paper
the mars instead of mends
the stamped addressed reply
that you forgot
to send

a. In stanza 2, why cant the envelope be sealed?


___________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________( 1 mark)
b. State the literary device used for the phrase the gum is gone.
____________________________________________________________( 1 mark)
c. How would people feel if they could not find the end of
Sellotape?
_________________________________________________________________
29

___________________________________________________________ (1 mark)
d. What is the main characteristic of the things mentioned in the poem that
makes the
persona relate to it? Why would he feel this
i.
ii.

way?

The main characteristic:


_____________________________________________________(1 mark)
Reason:
_____________________________________________________(1 mark)

Practic
Read stanza 3 of the poem carefully. Then answer the following
questions.

I am
the battery in which no charge is left
the starter motor which remains inert
the tyre on which the tread is worn
the sparking plug which shows no sign of
spark
the carburettor choked by bits of dirt
the chromium trim from which the shine has
gone

a.

In stanza 3, what happened to the carburettor?


____________________________________________________________( 1 mark)

b. How do we describe the battery that has no

charge left?

_____________________________________________________________ ( 1mark)
c. Why is the tyre discarded?
30

_____________________________________________________________(1 mark)

d. What should we do to the things that we do not want anymore? Give two
possible
suggestions.
Suggestion 1: ________________________________________________( 1 mark)
Suggestion 2: ________________________________________________( 1 mark)

Practic
Read stanza 4 of the poem carefully. Then answer the following
questions.

I am
a garden
overgrown with weeds
a library
that no one ever reads
a stray
which no one thinks to feed
the piece of advice which no one seems to
need

a.

In which age group do you think the persona is in?


___________________________________________________________( 1 mark)

b. If you see a stray animal, what would

you do?

31

___________________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________( 1 mark)
c. What does the phrase the piece of good advice which no one seems to
need
mean?
___________________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________(1 mark)
d.

List down two moral values that you have learned from the poem.
Moral value 1:
____________________________________________________________(1 mark)
Moral value 2:
____________________________________________________________(1 mark)

Practic
Read the poem carefully. Then answer the following questions.
a.

Who most probably owned the Action Man?


_____________________________________________________________(1 mark)

b.

In stanza 2, what category of things is mentioned by the persona?


_____________________________________________________________(1 mark)

c. What does the persona mean when he said that he is like the garden with
overgrown
weeds?
__________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________( 1 mark
d. Who do you think the persona is? Give a reason for your
answer.
__________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________(2 marks)
32

Practic
Read the poem carefully. Then answer the following questions.
a. In stanza 1, which word tells us that the arm of the Action Man is broken?
______________________________________________________________(1 mark)
b. Give the meaning of the word inert?
______________________________________________________________(1 mark)
c. Why do you think no one wants to take the advice?
_____________________________________________________________(1 mark)
d. What evidence would you give to say that the pesona could be an orphan?

__________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________( 2 marks)

Practic
Read the poem carefully. Then answer the following questions.
a. What do people do with used things around the house that they do not need
any
longer ?
_______________________________________________________________(1 mark)
b. In stanza 2, what has happened to the stamped addressed reply?
_______________________________________________________________(1 mark)

c.

Why do you think no one has ever read the library book?
_______________________________________________________________(1 mark)

d. Explain the line that mars instead of mends. How do we prevent liquid paper from
drying-up?
33
HOTS

______________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________(2 marks)

ENRICHMENT ACTIVITIES

ACTIVITY 1
Create A Poem
1.
2.
3.
4.

Divide students into 4 groups.


Each group is given an item such as a pencil, a hand phone, a television etc.
Each group has to compose a one-stanza poem based on the item given.
Each group presents their poem.

Notes for teacher:


1. This activity can be done in pairs or in a group.
2. Teacher combines the stanzas and create a new poem
3. Teacher can ask students to write a poem similar to Happy I Ams
Example:

34

Imagine that you are an object. Write a happy poem about it. Use the example
below as a guide:

Line 1: Who am I?
Line 2: How do I look?
Line 3: Who uses me?
Line 4: Why do they use me?

I am
the pencil
with red and blue stripes
used among the students
to write in their books

ACTIVITY 2
Choral Speaking
1.
2.
3.
4.

Teacher forms students into four groups.


Each group is given one stanza of the poem Sad I Ams.
Each groups is required to perform a choral speaking.
Each group has to create interesting actions based on the stanza be it the items

mentioned in the stanza, sound of the items or any creative actions.


5. Each group presents in the class.
Notes for teachers:
1. This activity can be done in groups or as a whole class activity.
2. Teacher can ask the students to combine their choral speaking groups and present
as one.
3. Students are encouraged to add in any elements of choral speaking to make it
interesting such as repetition and sound effects.

ACTIVITY 3
Recycle And Reuse
1. Students are required to find one unwanted thing that they do not want to
keep or to use any more.
35

2. Ask the students to recycle or to reuse the item and present it in the class.
Notes for teachers:
1. This activity can be done individually, in pairs or in groups.
2. Students are encouraged to be creative or innovative.
3. Display those items in the class.

Answers
Practice 1
Practice 1
Practice 1
1. c

2. e

3. a

4. b

5. f

6. g

7. d

8. k

9. h

10.

15.

11.

12.

13.

14.

16.

17.

18.

19.

Practice 2
1. True

2. True

3. True

4. False

5. False

6. True

7. False

8. True

9. False

10.
ue

Tr

Practice 3
1. choked

6. empty

11.

gone
36

2. scrapings

7. reply

12.

severed

3. advice

8. shine

13.

feed

4. dirt

9. mends

14.

inert

5. mars

10.

15.

stray

worn

Practice 4
1. c

2. i

3. e

4. g

5. a

6. b

7. d

8. j

9. f

10.

Practice 5
1. the ring

2. the scrapings

3. the severed arm of


last years action
Man

4. envelope

5. sellotape

6. stapler

7. bulldog clip

8. liquid paper

9. stamped address
reply

10.

11.
starter
motor

12.

tyre

13.
sparking
plug

14.

carburettor

15.

chromium trim

16.

garden

17.

stray

18.

library books

19.

advice

battery

Practice 6
1. rejection

2. Trevor (space)
Millum

3. need

37

4. reply

5. advice

6. feed

7. four

8. reuse

9. man

10.
tion

personafica

13.

gloomy

11.

comparison

12.

mars

Practice 7
ADJECTIVES

NOUNS

unwashed

scrapings

empty

Cola can

toothless

stapler

severed

Action Man

Dried up

Liquid paper

Practice 8
1. himself

2. can

3. an

4. of

5. envelopes

6. are

7. stationery

8. goes

9. a

Practice 9
1. ring

2. scrapings

3. broken

4. envelopes

5. bulldog

6. car

7. book

8. stray

Practice 10
38

Alliteration

1. the gum is gone


2. that mars instead of mends

Personafication

1. the toothless stapler


2. the springless bulldog

Symbol

1. the Sellotape where you cant find the end


2. scrapings from an unwashed porridge pan

Practice 11
1. Pay a visit to the old folks home and spend time with them.
2. Celebrate International Day for Older Persons with them.
3. Do activities with senior member of your own family such as walking at the
park
or reading to them.
4. Celebrate birthdays and anniversary with senior member of your own family
such as your
grandparents. (accept any logical answers)

Practice 12
Accept any logical answers

PT3 PRACTICES

Practice 1
a. He compares himself with the ring of a drink can, scrapings from a
porridge pan and the broken part of a discarded toy.
b. These things can be found in the household.
c. It has not been washed and has leftovers in it.
d. The two reasons are it could have been pulled out by a child playing
with it and the toy could have been faulty.

Practice 2

a. The gum is gone.


b. Alliteration
39

c. They would feel frustrated


d. i. Main characteristic is that they are disposable and unwanted things.
ii. Perhaps the persona feels unwanted too.
a. It is filled with dirt.
b. The battery is flat
c. It is discarded because the tread has worn out
d. i. Recycle and reuse
ii. Give to the one in need (accept any possible answers)

Practice 3
Practice 4

a. Teenager/old people/elderly people


b. I will keep it as a pet/ I will take the stray to the animal shelter/I will
feed the stray.
(accept any possible answer).
c. Advice that is useful but tends to be ignored by people.
d. Choose any two of these:
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.

We should be positive about our status in life.


We should learn to recognize and value our abilities and possessions.
We should keep faith with our family.
We should have confidence in ourselves.
We must be grateful for what we have rather than yearning for
something different.
6. We must show our appreciation to those who have helped us

Practice 5

a. A child
b. Stationery
c. He feels neglected.
d. I think the persona is an elderly person who feels unwanted. This is
because the
persona associates himself with many old and unwanted things.

Practice 6

a. Severed
b. It means to be without motion or power/ not working
c. Perhaps because the persona is an elderly person and has oldfashioned opinion
about things.
d. The persona has made extreme comparisons which is not likely to
happen within

40

a family. As an orphan it is possible for the persona to feel unwanted,


unloved and neglected.

Practice 7

a. They will keep/ throw/ recycle the things.


b. It has been forgotten
c. Perhaps the book is not interesting.
d. Liquid paper that is dry will dirty rather than erase the writing that is
being
cleaned. The liquid paper pen should be capped at all times when not
in use.

41