Meanings Behind Poetry: “Purpose in Life” [Part I]

I’ve always wanted to give folks a better explanation of the poems I submit over at Scribd and Hello Poetry for quite some time. I tried to start this before, but it always ended with me putting it off. Today this will change as I will talk about one of my old submissions.

It is called “Purpose in Life” — published in late 2012.


During the year of 2012, I explored my more creative side of writing. That year was also the darkest time of my life (mentally of course) due to a passing on my family. During those months, I went through a period of remorse, regret, and self-pity; every moment of happiness was squashed by bounds of depression I brought on myself.
So in a turn of events in the summer of 2012, I tried to envision myself in someone else shoes. Someone who felt like they didn’t belong in this world. Someone who felt like nobody cared for them, loved them. That’s how “Purpose in Life” came to fruition.

Let’s read along to the poem shall we? I’ll give details on what some of the lines really mean. I put some explanations in italics.


“Purpose in Life”
By: Joshua Phelps
Published: 2012

Don’t stare below,
The heights to a higher place affright you.  <— (Heaven, not the building they’re on.)
The ground shook, the air frigid,   <— (Lack of stability in a broken home, stable ground turned unstable.)
the people stood in shock,
you kept your balance.
you threaten to descend.

they send a plea,
begging you to ascend.
The others, calling you
to step off the ledge.  <— (The demons in his head, the people who beat him to death emotionally piece by piece.)

We’re not fools.
This isn’t a test,

We’re sorry you let your guard down,
Don’t let this get to you.
You’re not misplaced.

Risking your life,
Benefiting the satisfaction of others;
Won’t solve your problem.
Evaluate before you subjugate. <— (Basically means think before you fall.)
From your distance,
They’re just little specks in the concrete. <— (In the end those who bother you won’t matter. They’re just that little annoyance in life you have to learn to avoid and live without.)

The limit is the sky.
You can become what your heart desires.

I’m cognisant of the stranger’s honest opinion,
They barely know who you are. They say what they’ve said before.
Why not change it?
Show them you’re incredible.
Prove to them you’re not a failure, be their friend – not their foe.  <— (That saying “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.” They may despise you now, but once you prove to them what you’re truly capable of, they may learn to respect you.)

Explain to them what brought you this far,
I’m sure they’ll be happy to assist,
Give you a helping hand. <— (Those staring from below whom the character assumed they no longer care actually do. They just don’t know what’s going on until it’s too late to find out. All it takes is setting one of them aside and confiding in them. A little goes a long way to a road to recovery.)

Take your time, I’ll be waiting.

When I turn back around,
I expect you to come back to me.

We all care, dear. It just takes a moment to find out.
To put your faith back and restore your trust.
We all have a purpose, you just have to set out and discover your own.


And now you know some background meaning behind my most well-known poem on Hello Poetry. Later in this series, I will dive deeper into the meanings behind other poems such as “Remember Me”, “Thoughts and Actions”, and many others.

Until next time, bloggers…

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