What is Imagery in Poetry? And Examples of Poetry Imagery

What is Imagery in Poetry? – Poetry is known as a literary work that has beautiful language. In the Big Indonesian Dictionary (KBBI), poetry is a literary variety whose language is bound by rhythm, dimension, rhyme, as well as the arrangement of lines and stanzas; compositions in language whose forms are chosen and arranged carefully so as to sharpen people’s awareness of life experiences and evoke specific responses through the arrangement of sounds, rhythms and special meanings; rhyme.

Etymologically, the word “poetry” in Greek comes from the word “poesis” which means creation. In English, the equivalent of the word poetry is poetry which is closely related to poet and poem. The word poet comes from the Greek which means to make or create.

The word poet in Greek is also interpreted as a person who creates through his imagination, a person who is almost like a god or who is very fond of the gods. He was a man of keen eyesight, a saint, who was at once a philosopher, a statesman, a teacher, a man who could guess hidden truths.

Frost expressed his opinion regarding poetry as “Poetry is a rhythmical composition of words expressing an attitude designed to surprise and delight, and to arouse an emotional response”.

In tune with Frost, Sayuti also shared her views on poetry. In Sayuti’s view, poetry is formulated as a form of language pronunciation that takes into account the sound aspects in it, which expresses the poet’s imaginative, emotional, and intellectual experience drawn from his individual and social life; which is expressed with certain chosen techniques, so that the poem is able to evoke certain experiences in the reader or listeners

Poetry can be studied from various sides, such as the use of diction, figures of speech, imagery, and so on. From several things that can be studied in poetry, imagery may sound foreign. Sinaumed’s may wonder. “What is imagery in poetry?” The following will discuss in detail the imagery of poetry which has been summarized from various pages on the internet and journal articles.

The Concept of Imagery in Poetry

Imagery is a poetic instrument used by writers on words, phrases or sentences expressed in poetry in order to create visual images or images of feelings that can be felt by the reader. Simply put, imagery is used to build strong images of the feelings and thoughts of the reader.

Imagery is a fantasy image created by the poet. According to Waluyo, imagery is an arrangement of words that express sensory experiences, such as sight, hearing, and feeling. Imagery is characterized by the use of specific and concrete words.

Launching from the Tripven.com page, the imagery of poetry is usually expressed by means of imaginative descriptions expressed through words. Often times, to create an image in poetry, the writer will convey it with two main ideas, namely depiction or metaphor.

Kinds of Imagery in Poetry

Launching from the Tripven.com page, the following is a classification of poetry imagery.

1. Auditory Imagery

Auditory imagery is used so that the reader can feel something related to sound on the sense of hearing. For example, to create a booming sound, silence, breaking, and so forth. For example, in the poem “Old Beggar Moans” by Abdul Maliki” in the first line “Brakk … Instantly the beggar fell”.

2. Olfactory imagery

Smell is used to stimulate the reader’s sense of smell. So, as if the reader can smell the smell described in a work. This image tends to be difficult to express because the effect of smell is a very subjective experience. For example, the image of smell in the poem entitled “Give Daku Sumba” by Taufik Ismail.

3. Tactile Imagery

In the image of touch, it makes the reader feel as if he can feel something. This imagery is similar to motion imagery because the reader can feel what is expressed in the poem. In this type of imagery, the writer is advised to choose diction that can make the reader feel smooth, rough, and soft. As in the poem entitled “To My Mother I Miss” by Abdul Maliki.

4. Motion Imagery ( Kinestetic )

Motion imagery provides a stimulus in the form of movement from an entity that can be in the form of a human or a machine. This imagery is usually used to indicate an intention of a movement. Even though the entity is not moving, the reader can feel the movement in the image. For example, the poem “Pendaki Api Merapi” by Abdul Malik.

See also  difference between soap and restful

5. Vision Imagery ( Visual Imagery )

In this image, poetry is made as if the reader can describe and see what the author inserts in the poem. This type of imagery most often appears in poetic works. This imagery was chosen because almost all readers can imagine something. For example, a poem entitled “My Melatiku” by Abdul Malik.

6. Taste Imagery ( Gustatory )

Taste imagery is used by the author in his work to provide a descriptive stimulus regarding the sense of taste. The implementation of this imagery can be done by writing poetry that is directly related to the taste in tasting, especially the taste of food.

Through the image of the taste buds, the reader will be brought to the flavors that can be imagined on the taste buds, such as sweet, spicy, salty and savory. An example of a poetic work that fits this image is a poem entitled “Secupir Kopi and Memories” by Abdul Malik.

Example of Poetry Imagery Analysis

Rahimah in a journal article entitled Citraan in the Poetry “Love Letter” by WS. Rendra analyzes poetry from its imagery. Following are the results of the analysis conducted by Rahimah on the poem “Love Letter” by WS. Rendra.

Love letter

By Ws. Rendra


I’m writing this letter

When it rains it drizzles

Like the sound of a toy drum

Fairy children of the magical world.

And the wind sighs moans and sighs.

O sister Narti,

I love you!


I’m writing this letter

when the sky cries

and two ducks

make love in the pool

like two naughty children

witty and sweet

wagging tail

and flutters its feathers.

Dear Dik Narti,

I want you to be my wife!


Pointed rain legs

touch the ends of the earth.

Firm legs of love

like glittering heavy metal

go forward

and will never be postponed.


A dozen angels

has come down

in the drizzling rain.

In front of the window pane

they look in the mirror and wash their hair

for the party.

Dear Dik Narti,

in an elegant wedding dress

flowers and sacred keris

I want to lead you to the altar

to be married.


I propose to you.

You know long ago:


nothing worse

and nothing better

than others….

poets of everyday life,

people who start with words

word that comes from

life, thought and feeling.


Strong spirit of life

like millions of alit needles

piercing the skin of the sky:

pockets of fortune and wingit blessings.

Then spill the drizzle.

Wind and love

sighed in the drizzle.

My strong love spirit

like a thousand magical hands

spreading a thousand nets

ambush your heart

who always smiles at me.

You are a mermaid

my captive.

Mermaid with soft melodious voice

like a sea breeze,

sigh for me!

The wind sighed

always sigh

with her melodious wail.

You are a mermaid


blinking her beautiful eyes

in my net.

O Mermaids,

i caught you

I propose to you.


I’m writing this letter

when it rains

because of the sky

spoiled and sweet girl

crying for toys

Two naughty boys frolic in a ditch

and the sky is jealous to see it.

Dear Dik Narti,

i want you

be the mother of my children!

The following is an analysis of the poem “Love Letter” by WS. Rendra is seen from five types of images, namely visual, auditory, tasting, moving, and feeling images. First, the visual imagery in the poem “Love Letter” by WS Rendra can be seen in the poem:

  • Verse I: I write this letter when it rains.
  • Verse II: I write this letter when the sky cries and two grouse make love in a pond; wags its tail and vibrates its feathers.
  • Verse III: the firm legs of love like heavy metal glisten forward and will never be put back.
  • Verse IV: in front of the windowpane they look in the mirror and wash their hair for the feast; with a beautiful wedding dress of flowers and an apocalypse dagger I want to lead you to the altar to be married.
  • Verse VI: a bag of fortune and wingit’s blessing then spills the drizzle.
  • Verse VII: you are a mermaid lying limply blinking her beautiful eyes in my net g. Verse VIII: I am writing this letter when it is drizzling because the sky is a spoiled and sweet girl crying for toys; frolicking in the ditch and the sky was jealous of him.

Second, the image of hearing in the poem “Love Letter” by WS Rendra can be seen in the poem.

  • Verse I: like the sound of a drum played by children of the faeries of the unseen world; and the wind sighs moans and sighs.
  • Verse VI: the wind and love sigh in the drizzle.
  • stanza VII: a mermaid with a soft melodious voice like the sea breeze sighs to me; the wind moans, always moans with its melodically tears.

Third, the image of taste in the poem “Love Letter” by WS Rendra can be seen in verse II of the poem: like two naughty children, witty and sweet.

See also  difference between records and documents

Fourth, the image of motion in the poem “Love Letter” by WS Rendra is found in poetry.

  • stanza III: sharp raindrops touching the earth.
  • Verse IV: a dozen angels have descended in a drizzling rain.

Fifth, the image of feelings in the poem “Love Letter” by WS Rendra is found in poetry.

  • Verse I: O sister Narti I love you.
  • Verse II: O sister Narti I’m pinang you to be my wife!
  • Verse V: I propose to you, you know from the past that nothing is worse and nothing is better and the other.
  • Verse VI: the spirit of life is strong like millions of tiny needles piercing the skin of the sky; my strong spirit of love is like a thousand invisible hands spreading a thousand nets to ambush your heart which always smiles at me; oh, mermaid I netted you I proposed you; O, Dik Narti, I want you to be the mother of my children!

Poetry Analysis with Roman Ingarden’s Norma Approach

Poetry can be analyzed with various opinions or approaches. One of them is the analysis of poetry using the Roman Ingarde Norma approach. Here’s a more detailed explanation.

The elements of Roman Ingarden’s Norma approach are as follows.

a. Sound Layer

The poem is in the form of sound units: the sounds of syllables, words, and sequences make up the whole sound of the poem which is the sound of phrases and sentences. With the sound units, people catch the meaning. The thing that is still closely related to sound speech is rhyme. Repeated sounds, regular alternations, and sound variations create a lively movement. Or the alternation of ups and downs, short lengths, loud and soft utterances of language sounds on a regular basis. So the sound layers in the poem are all sound units based on certain language conventions. As for the various kinds of sound that we can know, among others.

1. Variety of Cacophony Sounds ( Cacophony )

This cacophony sound is suitable and able to strengthen an unpleasant, chaotic, completely disorganized, even disgusting atmosphere. This variety of sounds can be used to create an atmosphere of depression, alienation, sadness, serenity, gloom, emotion and sadness. Visually, this variety of sounds uses a lot of consonants k, p, t, s (Pradopo, (in Hanafi, 2017:161)).

2. Variety of Ephonic Sounds ( euphony )

Ephony ( euphony ) is a combination of melodious sounds or beautiful sounds. This melodious sound orchestration is usually to describe intimate feelings, affection or love, as well as joyous things. Examples of euphony include a combination of vowel sounds a, e, i, u, o with voiced consonant sounds like b, d, g, j and liquida sounds like r and l, as well as nasal sounds m, n, nya and ng (Pradopo, (in Hanafi, 2017: 161)).

3. Onomatopoeic Sounds

Onomatopoeic sounds are referred to as a variety of sounds in the form of imitation of sounds that exist in the universe, such as the sound of wind, sea, trees, animals, and so on in the form of markers (Suryaman dala Wiyatmi (in Hanafi, 2017: 161))

b. Lapis Arti ( Units of Meaning )

The meaning layer is a series of phonemes, syllables, words, phrases, and sentences. These are all units of meaning. The series of sentences becomes paragraphs, chapters, and the whole story or the whole poem (Pradopo, 2012:15). In poetry it is not enough if only the meaning is stated. What the poet wants is that whoever reads can also feel and experience what the poet feels and experiences (Pradopo, (in Hanafi, 2017: 161-162))c

c. Layer Things That Are Presented

The layers of things put forward are the objects put forward, the setting, the actors, and the author’s world (Pradopo, (in Hanafi, 2017:162)). The setting, which is also referred to as the fulcrum, suggests the notion of place, time relationships and the social environment in which the events told occur (Abrams (in Hanafi, 2017: 162)).

d. World Layer

The world layer is a layer that is seen from a certain point of view that does not need to be disclosed, but is contained within. An event in literature can be stated or stated as “heard” or “seen”, even the same event, for example the sound of a door window, can show an external aspect or an inner character. For example, a door with a soft sound can give suggestions that open or close a woman or a person with a cautious character (Pradopo (in Hanafi, 2017:162)).

e. Metaphysics Layer

The metaphysical layer is in the form of metaphysical properties which are sublime, tragic, horrific or frightening and sacred with these characteristics art can give reflections to the reader. At this layer the reader is invited to reflect and think or imagine what is contained in the poem being read. The purpose of imagination is so that the reader or listener is able to understand and truly understand the meaning of the poem. However, not every literary work contains such a metaphysical layer (Pradopo (in Hanafi, 2017: 162)).