Read the poem closely: line by line, or stanza by stanza. Use free association: write down your first impressions and ideas. Circle/underline words you do not know and look them up in the dictionary. Put question marks to portions that you do not understand. Come back to them later.
Feelings are important too, so mark them down and explore them in more detail on reading. When completed, re-read the poem a few more times to understand what the poet is trying to say. Don’t be afraid to change your first impressions and ideas. Make connections
Paraphrasing: It is the process of rewriting a text using your own words to show your understanding of it. However, the paraphrase is not a substitute for the text itself but a key to comprehension of a poem. We generally paraphrase a text line by line, but with a poem, it is best to paraphrase stanza by stanza.