Friday, 19 June 2015

SPM English Literature : Poem : The Living Photograph

Assalamualaikum WBT,

This is the first poem that I want to share with you all.

Poem 1 : The Living Photograph

The Living Photograph

My small grandmother is tall there, 
Straight back, white, broderie anglaise shirt,
pleated skirt, flat shoes, grey bun,
a kind, old smile round her eyes.
Her big hand holds mine,
white hand in the black hand.
Her sharp blue eyes look her own death in the eye.

It was true, after all, that look.
My tall grandmother became small.
Her back round and hunched.
Her soup forgot to boil.
She went to the awful place grandmothers go.
Somewhere unknown, unthinkable

But there she is still,
In the photo with me at three,
The crinkled smile is still living, breathing.

Jackie Kay

Now, interpreting other's poem, we need to study the poet background first, then we can relate with what he or she was trying to convey. 


As you can see there, the poet's name is Jackie Kay which was born  November 9 1961 in Edinburgh, Scotland to a Scottish mother and a Nigerian father. Her parents gave her away for adoption to white Scottish parents (John and Helen Kay) who brought her up in Glasgow with great affection. The grandmother in the poem above was her adoptive grandmother who also loved her as much as her biological parents. Thus, from an early age, Jackie Kay was often baffled by her ethnic identity as she looked "coloured" compared to her adoptive "white" grandmother and adoptive parents. This poem, like many other by Jackie Kay, reflects her generally happy, childhood, as well as her concerns about her true 'biracial' ethnic identity.

About the poem

The persona captured two images of her adoptive grandmother -one seen in the photograph when the persona was three years old and another image of her grandmother as the lady became older and finally passed away. The persona resonates with the memories of many young people who have lost their beloved grandparents. 


1. Appreciation and affection for a grandparent
2. Search for the persona's identity
3. The mystery of ageing and death
4. Filial piety ( Virtue respect for one's ancestor )

Moral Value

1. Filial piety
2. Inter-racial harmony

Tone/Mood of Poem

The poet used childlike voice but with confident and optimistic despite her reference to the grandmother's death.

Persona or Speaker

The persona in the poem is a child who grows from the age of three in the photograph to a more mature age.

Point of View

It was narrated by the persona in the first person

Language and Style

Persona and Child Talk
Contrasting Imagery
Descriptive Details.

Now, that is all for now, I will include more information from time to time and this is not the last entry you see from me. Yes. I have the Charge of the Light Brigade that I need to tell you more on.


Assalamualaikum WBT

p/s: Hope you could find something here, love.

Thursday, 18 June 2015

SPM : English Literature Components.

Assalamualaikum WBT,

How do you my avid/loyal readers. *is there's any? hahaha

Now, firstly, I would love to apologise for not being such a good blogger cause, I have been neglecting this blog with no English Grammar Entries. I am so sorry, please, forgive me for being such a jerk, okay?

Therefore, for today, because of I have been teaching my students, form 4 students a few things on Literature Components. I want to share with you one of two poems that I taught them.

But before that, I want to let you know what poetry is.

Poetry is a creative literary piece made up of specially-arranged words in metre or free verse. It is often written with rhyme and rhythm in a group of lines called stanza or verse.

What are the key elements of poetry?

Theme, Moral Value, Persona or Speaker, Setting, Tone and Mood, Point of View, Language and Style

Now, I will explain briefly on each of these.

Theme : The theme is the idea, point of view or perception expanded upon in the poem. It expresses a message, issue or feeling that the poet wishes to highlight. In simple words, theme is about how the author wants to convey. The idea that the author or poet want us to know.

Moral Value : These are lessons that can be learnt from the poem. Meaning, the goods and the bads that you can identify from the literature piece that you studied and you relate that with the moral value that you know. This is more like you understanding towards the piece itself.

Persona or Speaker :  The persona is the speaker or 'voice' in the poem. This is a person created by the poet to convey his message. Well, sometimes, the poet used "I, or We" as the pronoun, but there are poets chose to use names other than theirs just to tell the story.

Setting : The place where the poem takes place and the time when it is written.  It is also denotes the social environment of the poem.

Tone and mood : The tone is the poet's/speaker's attitude towards the subject, audience, or towards himself/herself. Mood refers to the general feeling created in the poem. It is connected with inner feelings and state of mind.

Points of view : This relates to theme a bit, but it more to the person who speaking in the poem. It may mean the persona or someone else. It can be conveyed in the first person point of view where the words 'I' or 'We' are used. This means that the persona and poet are the same person. It can also be written in the third person point of view where the words 'she', 'he', 'it' or 'they' are used. This persona is someone else other than the poet.

Language and Styles : Styles refers to the way a poet uses language to express his ideas. These are the commonly used styles in literature.

Sound Device

These are the literature devices that usually used by the poets.

So, that is all for now, in the next entry, I will tell a bit on a poem entitled The Living Photograph.

Assalamualaikum WBT

p/s: It is actually fun learning literature. Yes.

source : Modul Menguasai SPM Form 4 ( Kamala Ganehsan and Louis Rozario Doss ) from SASBADI. ISBN 978-983-59-7349-9

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Interpreting Poems. Literature Components.-

Assalamualaikum WBT,

Have you ever wonder about poem?

Do you know what when you know words, you can actually write a poem based on just anything?

Yes, you can but you must incorporate your elements in it. You can write but just don't write, put more language and style into it to make it more interesting.

Now, what is poetry?

Poetry is a creative literary piece made up of specially-arranged  words in metre or free verse. It is OFTEN written with rhyme and rhythm in a group of lines called stanza or verse.

Now any poem that you have in mind?

I have two now, The Living Photograph by Jackie Kay and also The Charge of the Light Brigade (extract) by Alfred Lord Tennyson. Two wonderful poems. I actually too love studying literature. It is actually fun and I love studying the words used and also how we interpret the writer's intention.

In interpreting the point of view of the writer, we need to consider why they wrote the poems. After considering that, you can write your opinion but it must be relevant with whats in the poem. If not, you will have trouble in getting the marks.

You know that art is subjective right? Some love black colour, some love white colour and some said that black and white are not colour. Well, see? Even colours have arguing. Now, all you can do it, you can comment on language and style of the author in writing the poem.

Let say, it the poem you found Metaphor which means a figurative comparison that does not use 'like' or 'as' between two unlike things. It describes one thing as being another.

Writing poems and interpreting poems are TWO different things. Yes, different. When you are writing a poem, you just pour out your emotions but not interpreting poem. As I said, you need to be the persona, you have too, other wise, you will find yourself in trouble for not be able to interpret the literature.

Therefore, you need to read the poem quite oftenly because, you need to understand how the poem works, if not, the marks for you would be zero. Too bad right?

So, learn, learn and earn your spot with those good students. Thats better, right?

Assalamualaikum WBT

p/s: later on I will put more on these two poems, I love reading The Living Photograph and also the Charge of the Brigade.