Poetry Study Aid: I Believe: Brucelish Sangma

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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
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.


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