Simply (P)ut, symbolism counts

A fellow poet posted a critique of Simply Put, that basically recommended shortening the poem; too include an example of a cut down version.  Within the example, the lines:

Last month I wrote you an epistle.
A didactic poem of blue ink on off-white paper.

were changed to:

I wrote an epistle.
A poem of blue on white.

That comment drew a question about the lines as written.  Simply put, (pun intended) here is a short explanation.

The lines are fraught with intentional symbolism; far more than I normally imbed.

Last month I wrote you an epistle.
A didactic poem of blue ink on off-white paper.

epistle: Noun 1. a letter, esp. a formal or didactic one; written communication.

didactic: Adjective 2. inclined to teach or lecture others too much: a boring, didactic speaker.

blue: The symbolism of blue is quite complex and is not as well know to most people as are some other colors.  In a few words, depending on the usage blue can be associated with the sky (male), ocean (female), peace and purity (the Virgin Mary) and protection from evil.  Well known in the Western world is the saying the bride wears “…something blue…” which refers to fidelity.

ink: I chose this as a symbol of permanency and for the narrator it reads, “my love for you is a tattoo on my heart that will be there forever.”

off-white: Direct reference that the symbolism of white in the West being purity and innocence.  Thus the narrator is recognizing something has come between them; refer back to the saying referred to above for ‘blue’ and it would imply that, while the bride may be a ‘virgin in white,’ something has tainted the relationship.

paper: A most treasured gift that can last a thousand years or can be easily destroyed by the water of tears.

My comment about ‘paper’ was a thought used in my poem  Liberty Town.

BTW, Liberty Town is a great art co-op in Fredericksburg, VA.

4 thoughts on “Simply (P)ut, symbolism counts

    • Sometimes you are writing for yourself and letting the reader look. However, keeping with what you have said, I was told that my flash fiction would be better if I did not give names to the characters so the reader could do, as you mentioned, insert oneself into the story; I try to do that now.

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