Once you have thought about your own personal response and other people's possible responses, think in more detail about how the poem is achieving its effect. There may not be a clear, right answer, and there isn’t a comprehensive list of things you must comment on. However, there are some general approaches that can help you think about the power of a poem.
There are popular themes in poetry such as love, conflict, time, place, nature, family, and childhood, but a poem can have any theme. Poets want to express something to the reader. This is often something they feel very strongly about so thinking about the message behind the poem is a good starting point.
Read the title and opening four lines of To Autumn by John Keats. What themes , ideas or attitudes are emerging?
The title tells the reader that this poem is centred on the season of Autumn. The opening stanza focuses on and establishes aspects of nature during this season, with references to mists, the sun, vines and the eaves of a thatched cottage. This gives the impression that the speaker very much admires this beautiful, rural, autumnal scene.
This response demonstrates the reader's understanding of the poem being about nature and autumn and that they form the central themes for the poem. It also shows an understanding of the speaker’s attitude, which is admiration of the season.