'Dead Poem' by Stanley Gemmell

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Buried in a luxurious rain
I only came to see you again.
The grave is lonely
The nearby road, busy.
No one stops to talk to you anymore
Words are too valuable these days.
I will set my books down near your stone
And watch the moss grow.

I remember you used to frown
If I mentioned the way you
Smiled in your sleep.
"That's so private."

You would say chagrined.
Money in hand, you would
Greet the cashier: if it
Was a man he would stare.

I remember you used to spit
Like a man. The thing about
You that turned me on the most
Was the way you would say, "Me."

Anonymous submission.

Editor 1 Interpretation

The Resurrection of the Dead Poem


Have you ever read a poem that made you feel as if you were conversing with a ghost? Dead Poem by Stanley Gemmell is one such poem that speaks to the reader from beyond the grave. The poem's title is an oxymoron, as a dead poem would imply that it is lifeless and uninspiring. However, the poem pulses with energy and vitality, demonstrating the power of language to transcend death. In this literary criticism and interpretation, we will explore the themes, symbolism, and literary devices used in Dead Poem.



At its core, Dead Poem is a poem about the power of words. Gemmell asserts that words have the power to outlive their creators and that they can be used to immortalize the dead. He writes, "I am the dead poem / But still I speak / My words are laced with life / And death cannot silence me." The poem's narrator is dead, but his words continue to resonate, giving him a sort of immortality.


Gemmell uses various symbols to convey the poem's message. The most obvious symbol is the dead poem itself. The poem represents the author's legacy and the power of his words to transcend death. The second symbol is the pen, which symbolizes the author's creative power. The pen is described as a "magical wand," emphasizing the transformative power of words. Finally, the poem's narrator is a symbol of the author himself, who speaks to us from beyond the grave.

Literary Devices

Gemmell uses several literary devices to bring the poem to life. One such device is personification, as he personifies the dead poem, giving it a voice and a life of its own. Another device is alliteration, as he repeats the "d" sound in "dead poem," emphasizing the poem's morbid subject matter. The poem also features imagery, as Gemmell describes the pen as a "magical wand" and the words as "laced with life."


Dead Poem is an elegiac poem, mourning both the death of the narrator and the inevitability of death itself. However, it is also a celebration of life, as the narrator's words continue to live on after his death. The poem reminds us that our words and actions have the power to outlive us and that we should use this power to create something meaningful.


Stanley Gemmell's Dead Poem is a haunting and beautiful poem that speaks to us from beyond the grave. It reminds us of the power of words to transcend death and creates a sense of comfort in the knowledge that our words can outlive us. The poem's themes, symbolism, and literary devices all work together to create a powerful and moving work of art. I invite you to read it and experience for yourself the power of the dead poem.

Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation

Dead Poem: An Analysis of Stanley Gemmell’s Classic Poem

Stanley Gemmell’s Dead Poem is a classic piece of literature that has been studied and analyzed by scholars and enthusiasts alike. The poem is a powerful and evocative piece that explores the themes of death, loss, and the fleeting nature of life. In this article, we will delve into the poem’s structure, language, and themes to gain a deeper understanding of its meaning and significance.


Dead Poem is a sonnet, a fourteen-line poem that follows a strict rhyme scheme and meter. The poem is divided into two quatrains (four-line stanzas) and a sestet (six-line stanza). The rhyme scheme is ABAB CDCD EFEF GG, which means that the first and third lines of each quatrain rhyme, as do the second and fourth lines. The sestet follows a different rhyme scheme, with the first, third, and fourth lines rhyming, and the second and fifth lines rhyming.

The poem’s meter is iambic pentameter, which means that each line has ten syllables and follows a pattern of unstressed and stressed syllables. This gives the poem a rhythmic quality that adds to its musicality and emotional impact. The use of a strict form like the sonnet highlights the poem’s themes of order and structure in the face of chaos and loss.


Gemmell’s use of language in Dead Poem is both simple and powerful. The poem is written in plain language, with no obscure or difficult words. This makes the poem accessible to a wide audience and allows the reader to focus on the emotions and ideas conveyed by the words.

The poem’s imagery is vivid and evocative, with phrases like “the dust of dreams” and “the ashes of desire” conjuring up powerful images of loss and decay. The use of metaphor and symbolism is also prominent in the poem, with the dead poet representing the fleeting nature of life and the transience of human existence.


The themes of Dead Poem are universal and timeless, exploring the human experience of loss, grief, and the inevitability of death. The poem is a meditation on the fragility of life and the impermanence of all things. The dead poet represents not only the loss of a single individual but also the loss of all that they represent – their dreams, desires, and aspirations.

The poem also touches on the idea of legacy and the importance of leaving something behind. The dead poet’s words live on, even though their physical body has decayed. This highlights the power of art and literature to transcend time and space and to connect us with the past and the future.

Another theme that emerges from the poem is the idea of acceptance. The speaker of the poem acknowledges the inevitability of death and the futility of trying to resist it. Instead, they embrace the impermanence of life and find solace in the knowledge that all things must come to an end.


Dead Poem is a powerful and evocative piece of literature that explores the themes of death, loss, and the fleeting nature of life. Gemmell’s use of language and structure creates a poem that is both accessible and emotionally impactful. The poem’s themes are universal and timeless, speaking to the human experience of grief and the inevitability of death. Dead Poem is a classic poem that continues to resonate with readers today, reminding us of the fragility of life and the importance of leaving something behind.

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