Poetry Analysis: "One Boy Told Me"

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About this sample

About this sample


Words: 851 |

Pages: 2|

5 min read

Published: Jan 25, 2024

Words: 851|Pages: 2|5 min read

Published: Jan 25, 2024

Table of contents

  1. Childish Phrasings
  2. Figurative Techniques
  3. Authenticity
  4. Humor and Mystery
  5. Conclusion
  6. Works Cited

In the poem "One Boy Told Me" by Naomi Nye, the poet exudes sensitivity, compassion and great heart. Nye touches on her diverse personal experiences that form the backbone of the poem. It is very interesting the way she brings out wide-range emotions of different persons worldwide in her well-composed verses in the poem. In the topics and themes that Nye explores in the poem, one can note her delicate and observant eye that allows calm to be exhibited in situations of loss, longing, and sadness. Through location of a sense of normalcy and permanence, she is able to confront the adverse state of the world. Rather than merely hoping to grab a glimpse of enlightenment in the poem, the poet embraces the light.

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Childish Phrasings

In the poem, there are many lines that give us voices of children. This may be highly attributed to the many years that Nye has taught poems in schools. For example, “Don’t talk big to me, Don’t ever say “purpose” again, I’m carrying my box of faces, but tomorrow’s in BOLDFACE, Yesterday’s faded, and let’s throw the word out”. These lines are said to the persona by the boy and they are not in their quirky logic. Nye has been able to bring into light the significance of childish phrasings and from the several lines stated it is possible to see the ingenuity in them. Some lines are funny and wonderful at the same time like, “Boy and Mom at the Nutcracker Ballet”.

Figurative Techniques

Figurative techniques, as well as imagery, have been used by the Nye. The title of the poem “One Boy Told Me” provides a vivid picture that there was a boy who was telling someone. The young boy’s image is clearly supported by the usage of very short syntax in the verse. It is also notable that Nye has a very impressive style of writing because in most cases she alternates between statements and questions. For example, “What does minus mean?” followed by “I never want to Poetry Analysis Essay minus you.” It goes without saying that the poem in more than two cases has used rhetorical questions such as “What does minus mean?” Emotional imagery has also been extensively utilized as one can see the curious young boy in the poem asking those questions and also showing a high level of naivety.


The poem has got elements of the poet autobiography that makes it very rich in information as well as easy to understand for example the three lines, “when I grow up my old names, where we live now and will live in the house” and also the title itself points out to that same idea. It is furthermore interesting the way Nye is attentive to person’s unedited, unadorned words. For example, Nye recounts, “A little girl said to me, ‘Poetry has been eating all my problems.’’ There also times that Nye has given the most unexpected characters such as young boy, a stone, a river, and a cat voices. She helps celebrate the unnoticed people and small objects by giving them a voice. One can clearly place the authenticity of the poem from the sincere voices in the poem. This poem is a “found poem” with no made up verses. This is because the poem entails words that Nye’s son said to her when he was a young boy of about two years. Nye has a special ability to pick only the words and lines that best reflect her stance on issues. She has maintained the poetic tone as well as incorporating ideas that are common to persons worldwide. Most people are able to associate with “One Boy Told Me” poem as a young person in the way that one uniquely described the world. It is possible to reconnect with your young self as well as the lost poet inside a person.

Humor and Mystery

In the poem, there are not many quotes that cannot be understood and Nye adds humor to her work as well. Some verses are mysterious and others requiring one to reflect on it for some time to enable the reader grasps the entire meaning it holds. For example, “My tongue is the car wash, for the spoon.” Nye expresses the entire emotion of the poem in unexpected and explicit ways of liveliness, celebration and the love between a child and a parent. Humor in most of the quotes is clearly utilized and thus enabling the reader to understand the verses easily. In the poem, there are verses that seem to be mysterious and thus the reader needs time to reflect on them. The poet provides a good mood which is a celebratory one in that the emotion of the entire poem is liveliness and love.

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“One Boy Told Me” is one of the many poems that Nye has contributed to literature. However, it is no different from the others where Nye attempts to create a meaningful life and grasps its meaning for the readers. This particular poem is one that the human lives are defined by metaphors.

Works Cited

  1. Nye, Naomi. “One Boy Told Me.” Poetry Foundation, Poetry Foundation, 2008,
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Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

Cite this Essay

Poetry Analysis: “One Boy Told Me”. (2024, January 24). GradesFixer. Retrieved May 20, 2024, from
“Poetry Analysis: “One Boy Told Me”.” GradesFixer, 24 Jan. 2024,
Poetry Analysis: “One Boy Told Me”. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 20 May 2024].
Poetry Analysis: “One Boy Told Me” [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2024 Jan 24 [cited 2024 May 20]. Available from:
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