An Approach to ICSE English provides a platform to contribute, discuss and comment on the various issues related to the study and practice of English for the students and teachers of ICSE syllabus. Even with its focussed nature, An Approach to ICSE English will be beneficial to everyone involved in the learning the niceties of the English language.

Friday, 13 June 2014

Poetry Study Aid: I Believe : Brucellish K Sangma

I Believe : Brucellish K Sangma

The crux of the poem I Believe 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 leitmotif 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. In spite of its apparent simplicity, the poem is highly symbolic and deeply philosophical.
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 symolises 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 being and import: in an all-inclusive level, the poem illuminates the abilities and desires of all the 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 fulfillment 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. I am class 10th student and I use Internet to clear my doubts .
    Though this site proved helpful to me, I prefer the Admin to use some simpler vocabulary in explanations :).

    1. I suggest a class 10 student like you to improve your vocabulary a little bit.

  2. Dear sir... this is a very helpful site sir and i have got a lot of practice from this site.... thanks a lot have helped millions of students all over the world.. may god bless you

  3. I use the internet to summarise and analyse the chapters. This article helped me to a certain extent but I have to agree with Tushar. Use of a little simpler English would be appreciated :)

  4. This is excellent sir, and i hope this helps me ace my prelims!
    Thank you!

  5. thanks a lot sir..

  6. Excellent usage of words.....thanks a lot....

  7. Excellent interpretation with good usage of words.....thanks a lot....

  8. Best summary....lots of keywords...thanks a lot..!!!
    Job well done..!!

  9. simpler english vocabulary would be better.

  10. Just a perfect before boards revision!
    I learnt more in the five minutes of reading this on the day of my exam than I ever did whilst reading this poem!
    Thank you so very much. :)

  11. inspired !!! Appreeciiatttedddd!!!!! :)

  12. High level of writing.. Helpful indeed.....

  13. This article is really helpful... now i could do my home work easily. :)

  14. Very helpful and good vocabulary used.hope i would get better results now on.Thank You Sir.

  15. This site has concealed the entire poem in a nutshell which has greatly helped me to memorise the important points.

  16. This site has concealed the entire poem in a nutshell which has greatly helped me to memorise the important points.

  17. excellent..........awesome......wordless to express the usage of fabulous words...i wd like to hv sm more interstng explainations

  18. very helpful ! thank u !

  19. A perfect explanation

  20. yaa it is helpful nd this site give a lots of information which i want abt the poet nd what the storie tell us abt

  21. superb analogy of the beautiful poem. i am delighted to read this critical explanation.

  22. It was just superbbbbbb
    But I may request you to use some simple vocabulary

  23. thank you so much

  24. thank u so much ! I appreciate the content of your explanation but I would suggest you to use simpler words because everytime I didn't understand a word i have to look up in the dictionary and that requires a lot of time
    well that is in a way good as it helps to enhance our vocabulary

  25. Ha Ha Ha good one

  26. thank you for this! it was really helpful as i did not understand much reading the poem!!

  27. an excellent interpretation
    has helped me a lot and excellant use of words.thanks a loooot........

  28. Amazing.....helped a lot.Thnx.Really well explained...cleared all the doubts

  29. This is really indeed good helped me a lot in my studies thx

  30. very nice and helpful indeed.. also beneficial to enhance our vocabulary..

  31. Dear Gopa Sir, thanks a lot for an insightful and very useful explanation for each line, especially the symbolic meanings. It's been a guiding post for many, and I'm not an exception. This has helped me a lot in writing my post on Englicist

  32. Excellent explaination with excellent usage of words !!!! Tq

  33. It helped me not only to understand the poem but also to increase my vocabulary