In any literary work there must be a controlling idea: the theme of the literary work. The controlling idea of a poem is the idea that continuously developes through out the poem, by sets of key words that identify the poet‘s subject and his/her attitude or feeling about it.
It may also be suggested by the title of the poem or by segment of the poem. It is rarely stated explicitly by the poet, but it can be stated by the reader and it can be stated in different ways. The controlling idea is an idea, not moral; it is a major idea, not a minor supporting idea or detail; and it controls or dominates the poem as a whole.
As a poet, you need to learn how to create a central or general idea of your poem that you want to write. There are a great deal of ways of how to come up with the desired theme of the poem. Here are some of the suggestions:
a) Dip yourself into emotions as quickly as you can and write your ideas immediately they come in your mind
b) Select structure, imagery, voice, language, rhyme and other poetic devices
c) Assemble all tools that are used in poetry
d) Choose the most important characterization of your poem
e) Organise all events i.e link your ideas nicely. Include the following: your attitude, nice view-point, reflections, aggressions, persuasive language, descriptive language, well-arranged words, techniques to create mood, mood change etc. Thus depending on the way you want to express your feelings.
Examples of themes are:
1) Animals: apocalypse, archaeology, art, beauty, birds, birth, blindness, boats, body, brutality, butterfly, camping, captivity etc
2) Death: deceit, deception, depression, disappointment, doubt, dreams, drink, eccentricity, empowerment, failure, exile, feelings etc.
3) Love:marriage, memory, mythology, paradise, people, motherhood, parents, philosophy, police, politics, nature etc
It’s very important to use literary devices to develop your theme of the poem. It only takes a poet to utilize conventions to develop theme of the poem
As already stated, there are considerable number of devices that a poet can use to develop a theme and the frequent used ones are symbolism, metaphor, rhyme and the soliloquy.
Note that movement is what facilitates the developement of theme in a poem. There are two types of movements that enhance the advancement of theme
i) Movement of the Psyche e.g. Repeating and singing
ii) Movement of Physic
Thus how we (poets) develop our themes to lead the world. We preserve our emotions in painted world. Our legacies are meant to change the world. So be the one too!!