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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

He Had Such Quiet Eyes by Bibsy Soenharjo



HE HAD SUCH QUIET EYES 
BY BIBSY SOENHARJO




He had such quiet eyes
She did not realise
There were two pools of lies
Layered with thinnest ice
To her, those quiet eyes
Were breathing desolate sighs
Imploring her to be nice
And to render him paradise

If only she'd been wise
And had listened to the advice
Never to compromise
With pleasure-seeking guys
She'd be free from "the hows and whys"

Now here's a bit of advice
Be sure that nice really means nice
Then, you'll never be losing at dice
Though you may lose your heart once or twice
1968


THE POET : BIBSY SOENHARJO 
  • The daughter of the polyglot Indonesian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Bibsy Soenharjo is well-versed in the languages of the world.
  • An Indonesian poet who expresses herself in Indonesian, English, French and Dutch.
  • Began writing poetry in English in 1962.
  • One of her poems, I'm Walking in a Room, was published in the prestigious American Poetry journal, The Literary Review, 1966
  • For more information about Bibsy Soenharjo, you can go here.

PARAPHRASE OF THE POEM

Stanza 1 
He had such calm and innocent eyes that she did not realise those eyes were eyes of deceit covered in a thin veil that is easy to see through or fathom. To her, those eyes were pouring out sighs of sadness begging her to be kind and loving and in being so grant him a state of happiness.

Stanza 2
Regrettably she had not been wise enough to listen to the advise of never to be on terms with those who only look for pleasure. if only she had, she would have been saved from being trapped in an unpleasant situation that is difficult to come out of.

Stanza 3
She proceeded in giving some advice. Be sure to mean what we say. then we will never lose at the cheating game though we may once or twice suffer from a broken heart. One may fall in love more than once before one discovers true love.

ELEMENTS OF THE POEM
1. Setting
-No particular place or time is mentioned but the poem relates a situation that can happen to anyone passing through the adolescent stage of life when physical impression and attractions are at their highest. The eyes can reveal many things about a person's inner feelings and emotions. they are the window to a person's soul. The adolescent's perception of such feelings is heightened at this stage.

2. Persona
The third person point of view is used when the poem uses the pronouns 'he' and 'she'. The persona in this poem is most probably a sensible person who is aware of 'pleasure-seeking guys'.

3. Moral values 
-Appearances are sometimes deceptive.
-Don’t be naive and believe everything we are told especially in matters of the heart.
-Falling in love is normal but one should be careful.
-We must learn from the experience of other people.

4. Tone and Mood
-Reflective, sympathetic, sad and happy. 
-The tone is one of giving advice. In the poem, the person is not wise enough to follow the advice and is now entangled in a difficult situation.

5. Language and Style
-The words used are simple and easy to understand.
-The poet uses poetic devices to convey her ideas.

6. Poetic Devices
a)Symbolism




 Quiet eyes:
-represents deceitful intentions
-eyes that do not show much emotion






Paradise : 
-a state of bliss
-represents the state of ecstacy






Pleasure seeking guys:
-represents men who deceive innocent women with their appearance.











b)Metaphor




Two pools of lies:
-this is compared to deceit.









The hows and whys:
-a difficult situation where solutions are not easily found.






Losing at dice:
- Losing at a games of chance
- Life is a gamble







c) Personification



Eyes breathing desolate sighs:
-eyes that pour out sadness


p/s : Dear students, for further details of poetic devices, you can refer here or here.

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