Lesson one

1.1       Aspects / Elements of poetry 

1.2       Subject matter

This is a term used to refer to what a poem is about.

In determining this, one is expected to look at the title and relate it to the rest of the poem. In some poems, the title clearly states what is in the rest of the poem but in others, the title may not. Unlike theme or message, the focus of the subject matter is the content of the poem, this, it is more of a summary of the occurrences brought up in the poem. 

1.3       Theme

This is the main idea or lesson that the writer/ poet is putting across in a poem.

It is usually in form of criticism to bad behavior, a piece of advice or appreciation e.g

Teachers are special people

Teachers are special people

Because of all they symbolize

And stand for-


Glowing lamps illuminating

the darkness of ignorance.


Skilled potters

Moulding and forming

the tender young minds and hearts

entrusted to their care


devoted gardeners

tending and nurturing

the budding plants

in their garden patch,

helping them to blossom and bloom

through their care and concern;



Friends, philosophers and Guides

and sometimes, parent-substitutes

as well .                                                Dr. Eliana and Ann Charles (India)

Therefore, the theme of this poem is the importance of teachers in our lives.

The persona / speaker says that teachers are special people (opinion) and compares them to lamps that help to drive away ignorance or to potters as they mold the character of their students. He/ she also compares teachers to gardeners who nurture young people helping them to develop.

Lastly, the speaker says that teachers are friends, philosophers and Guides and could even at times substitute the parents of the students (evidence).

Read the poem below and answer the questions that follow.


There is in this world something

that surpasses all other things

in sweetness.


It is sweeter than honey

It is sweeter than salt

It is sweeter than sugar

It is sweeter than all

existing things .


This thing is sleep.

When you are conquered by sleep

nothing can ever prevent you

nothing can stop you from sleeping.

When you are conquered by sleep

and numerous millions arrive

millions arrive to disturb you

millions will find you a sleep .



  1. What is the poem about?
  2. State the theme of the poem above
  3. Write a poem of your choice putting into consideration the definition of poetry.