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Friday, 15 May 2015

Poetry Study Aid: I Believe: Brucelish Sangma

Poetry Study Aid: I Believe: Brucelish Sangma

Despite its apparent simplicity, the poem I Believe is highly symbolic and deeply philosophical. The fundamental assertion of the poem is the celebration of the countless longings and abilities of man. Man’s aspirations are majestic and boundless and the poet Brucellish Sangma firmly believes that man is endowed with the abilities and competence to fulfill his boundless desires and lofty ideals.  Working hard with determination and purpose, man is capable of accomplishing all that he aspires to.  The poet believes that a human being can soar to unimaginable prominences and overcome numerous barriers to arrive at his or her life’s objective.
The poem has the feel of a Japanese haiku poem, with its three-lined stanzas- each stanza an entity in itself. The six haiku-like stanzas, each stanza consisting only of a single sentence, cumulatively assert the recurring theme of the poem- the infinite capacities of man and his limitless dreams and untold aspirations. The poem is written in a simple style and is in Vers libre - in free verse with no specific rhyme scheme or steady weave of rhythm. The poet recourses to the use of the poetic technique Anaphora by deliberately repeating the phrase ‘I believe’ at the start of each stanza.
Anaphora is a poetic technique in which a word or a phrase is repeated at the beginning of a sequence of sentences, or stanza in a poem.
·       I believe if a pebble is thrown upwards
I can pierce the heavens
And see the angels at play.
The speaker of the poem ‘I believe’, probably the poet Brucellish K Sangma herself, asserts that if she throws a throws a pebble into the sky , she can pierce the sky and have a glimpse of the heavenly heights and see the angels frolic.
On a literal level, the utterance of the poet seems a fantasy; however, what makes the utterance pregnant and significant is the symbolism. The pebble thrown up symbolises the relentless endeavours and persistent efforts directed by man to elevate his life to a lofty stature and to achieve the apparently unattainable objectives. The heaven stands for the seemingly unreachable goals and achievements. With the appropriate attitude coupled with willingness as well as competence and diligence, we are bound to create our world a better place to live in, thereby making not only our life but also the life of our fellow human beings joyful and wonderful. Thus, we can create heaven on earth. The angels symbolises both the great achievers of the worldly world and also the spiritual aspiration of each and every soul in this world.
The poem has different tiers of beingness and significance: in an all-inclusive level, the poem illuminates the abilities and desires of men and women; in a feminist standpoint, the abilities and desires of all women smothered by the outdated social norms and banal cultural traditions; and in a specific viewpoint, the abilities and desires of the tribal women in North East states of India. The ‘I’ of the poem can signify all or any one of these levels. These individuals who strongly wish to liberate themselves from customs and boundaries that stand in the path of their advancement, want to unshackle themselves and soar into the greater heights of human achievements.
·       I believe I can soar to the heights
Touch the silky clouds
And feel the stars.
I believe I can dive
Right into the depths
And swim with the sharks.
The poet believes that she can soar high up to the heights and flavour the delicate fluffiness of the clouds. The heights or the sky stands for the pinnacle of human triumphs and the sensation derived from the fluffiness of the clouds signifies the fulfilment and pleasure of attaining the unattainable. Stars are the congregation of astral figures among men, the ultimate achievers. The poet believes that with resoluteness and consistent efforts she can be one of these astral figures who have achieved celestial stature and brought glory to the human race.
The poet is confident that, like a diver diving into the depths of the sea to forage for the treasures in the depths of the ocean, she can dive deep into the sea of life and immerse herself in the treasured experiences of life. These myriad experiences of life ennoble and enrich the poet and she emerges as a better human being with profound understandings of the intrinsic qualities of life.
The depths stands for the sea of life and the sharks symbolise the challenges of life. The challenge to confront the travails of life and the exhilarating sensation of overcoming them are immense and gratifying.
The poet here uses binary opposites- soar/heights and dive/depths- to bring out the aptitudes and competence of human beings and the limitless potentials of their accomplishment.
·       I believe I can claw into the earth’s belly
Pick up the priceless gems
And adorn myself with them.
I believe I can do many things
Amidst the human angels
Surrounded by the world’s treasures.
The poet furthermore asserts that she has the resolve to claw out the invaluable stones in the earth’s interior and adorn herself with these gems.
Here, metaphorically, the poet affirms that, with dogged determination and firmness of purpose, man can exploit the natural resources on earth for the collective benefit of mankind. Even though clawing connotes a destructive and violent activity, here the poet confirms that the violence is not destructive but constructive and beneficial for the whole of humanity. Man has to resort to violence and destruction at times to bring about the social changes conducive to his evolution and advancement.
Many a man, throughout the ages, has achieved great things by utilising their innate qualities and

their inbuilt resourcefulness. They have accomplished many things that have turned out to be extremely beneficial to the human race and their cherished humanitarian efforts have endowed them with a celestial status. Hence, they are angelic in nature and stature.
These angelic men and women have stridden to the pinnacle of glorious achievements with their innate magnanimous spirits and their characteristic purposiveness. The poet is confident that she can emulate these victorious achievers through imbibing their life-force and purposeful resolve.
·       But I firmly believe I’ve to complete
The role assigned to me here
Where I dream and breathe.

In the concluding stanza, after listing all the potentials and possibilities that she can realise in her life, the poet comes out with a firm pronouncement that before the realisation of all these dreams and aspirations, she has to first fulfill her duties, her obligations and responsibilities of the familial and the social spheres where she currently subsists.
Each and every human being has innumerable roles in life and innumerable duties in accordance with the different roles he or she takes up at different stages of life. Before embarking to accomplish the countless capabilities and the infinite aspirations, the poet firmly believes that, man has to first fulfill his temporal duties of his life. The poet, being a woman has different duties designated to her as a woman and these responsibilities should be her priority.

The world of reality with its multitudinous obligations is right before us and first we should fulfill these responsibilities of the real world. Afterwards, we can start our pilgrimage towards individual advancement so as to fulfill our dreams and aspirations.


  1. Excellent posts. Marvelous It is of great help. .

  2. Very helpful in understanding the poem....thank you so much