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Monday, October 30, 2017

Analysis of They Too Are The Earth by Niyi Osundare

The Background 
"They too are the earth" is a poem addressing many factors such as poverty, inhumanity, inequality, neglect, etc. The poem speaker felt that if earth is truly for all, why has many lived as if they do not deserve to live on earth_ the beggars, the labourers (carrying heavy loads day and night), the victims of kidnap, the aged abandoned mothers, the scavenger kids, the wanderers, etc.

The Stanzas
In stanza one, the beggars begging by the filthy gutters, pedestrian shoes and halted vehicle tyres are also part of this earth. Stanza two pointed that the sweating muddy labourers that hew woods and hurl water all through the day are also part of this earth. (Stanza three) Many unfortunate souls kidnapped and kept in unknown undergrounds for rituals are part of this earth. (Stanza four) All the figdeting old women who are abandoned in villages are also part of this earth. The fifth stanza of the poem was crafted with the instrument of rhetorical questions inquiring: Are the lazy ones, the unambitious ones, the waif and stray part of this earth? And are the evil doers who thrive through destruction part of this earth?

The Structure 
The poem is a five stanza free verse with an unequal number of lines per stanza. It's tone is revealing and it possesses a diverse setting (street gutters, forest, villages, excavated undergrounds) which are related to humans life on earth. The major poetic device is refrain: "They are the earth" and "They too are the earth". We see other poetic recipes such as paradox "live that earth may die", alliteration "fritter the forest and harry the hills", litotes "Under snakeskin shoes and Mercedes tyres", personification "The dying distant deaths", synecdoche "Millions hewing wood and hurling water".

The Poet
Niyi Osundare is one of the well recognized poets in Nigeria. Born in Ikere Ekiti, Ekiti state, Nigeria in the year 1947; his literary works have globalized his identity and based on his act of conversation at a certain Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA) meeting I attended, he is such a very humble personality. Among his poetic crafts, has privileged to review "Not My Business" and "Ours To Plough Not To Plunder".
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Enunwa Chukwudinma Samuel aka samueldpoetry
(the Leo with wings flying)

Friday, October 20, 2017

Analysis of Unholy Marriage by David Holbrook

Analysis of Unholy Marriage by David Holbrook
photo from telegraph,co,uk

The poem “Unholy Marriage” was written by David Holbrook who lived between 1923 and 2011. His career record showed he was more than a poet but a well-known academician. According to Wikipedia record, “From 1989 he was an Emeritus Fellow of Downing College, Cambridge.”

The poem narrated an evening vehicle accident that took the life of a careful virgin girl. Though a virgin she was but ironically in what looked like "Unholy Marriage" or "Unwilling Marriage" her virtuous body was compressed with that of a strange man when a truck collided with the vehicle she boarded causing both their "blood and brain and bone" to mix while their naked bodies were pieced everywhere so hard to recognise. The poem speaker then blamed and mocked the girl for her own misfortune; she was blamed for not realizing how senseless and insensible vehicles had always been, and she was mocked for trading her pleasurable youthfulness for abstinence which had never assured anyone certainty of reward.

[ Similar poem is Analysis Of A Taxi Driver On His Death By Timothy Wangusa ]

Unholy Marriage is a seven stanza poem with a regular end rhyme scheme. Narrated from a third person point of view, each stanza is six lines in count with perfect imageries and simple diction. The events of the poem set at a foggy night and were climatic, flowng as follows: In stanza one, she was a very well nurtured virgin lady who had never shared "Cool soft anointment of her breasts". In stanza two, she would have been so sweet in bed_ imagining her bridegroom sweating while receiving the benediction of her breasts_ yes, because she truly kept herself for the best. In stanza three, the piece of her body are gathered like blown sheets of papers. In stanza four and five, she failed to realise "No wheel has built-in sense, she shared a vehicle seat with a strange man and suddenly like unholy marriage, her virgin blood mixed with that of a stranger. Stanza six and seven go thus:

"Anointed only by the punctured oil
poured like unleashed wind or fire from bag
Sold by some damned magician out to spoil
The life that girded in this young girl's breast,
Now never to unfurl her flag
And march love's happy quest.

Her mother hears the clock; her sighs,
Takes off his boots: she's late tonight 
I hope she's careful virgin: men have eyes
For cherished daughters growing in the breast.
Some news? They hear the gate.
A man comes: not the best."

The poem has the following themes_ Death, Virginity, Accident, Uncrtainty, etc. Death cannot be ruled out of the journey of earthly living because uncertainty is one among the limitations in mortal beings, the poet saw virginity as an expensive foolishness and that was his reason for mocking the virgin girl who lost her lost not only her life but her virginity to a terrible vehicle accident.


Enunwa Chukwudinma Samuel aka samueldpoetry
(the Leo With Wings Flying)