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Analysis of The Golden Chalice by Sly Cheney-Coker

this image is from ohio university website


BACKGROUND OF THE POEM
Though it is prosaic in form, The Golden Chalice is a poem of seven stanzas written by Sly Cheney-Coker_ Sierra Leonean poet and educator whose great efforts in literature has earned many awards such as the Commomwealth Writer's Prize (Africa's Best Book Region). "The Golden Chalice" is a poem that addressed the suffering of the homeless and orpans in Sierra Leone which was as a result of the civil war that happen the country. 


[Read: Simple Summary of The Fence by Lenrie Peters]

SURFACE REVIEW
According to the first stanza, after it all, without glorious crown to show and the colonialists (the gem diggers) back to their base; the orphans are still feeling the scar. Then in the second stanza that says, "God, their last hope was your golden chalice." the poet felt the hope of the orphans. The orphans' sorrowful hearts impacted the earth "but a rogue leader sold their laurels to a thirsty desert, where a djinn swallowed them when no saints were watching". By the time the poem extends to stanza four, the suffering of the orphans was further personified as "cold breeze kissed their foreheads" yet Christ didn't come to their aids. They refused to give up; they remained dogged and "stubborn souls" Until they found happiness once again as the poem speaker threw his arms around them in stanza six; the poem speaker even compared himself to the river that enlivened the orphans:

"My soul was that river on whose fiery banks
the orphans sang relentlessly for their lost mother.
Now I am waiting for a songbird to come
in the morning with a trill from its golden voice to ease their pain,
as they return, gasping to that cup of Christ that is the river!"


DEEPER REVIEW
The Golden Chalice is a poem that sends out the message about the negative effects of war on children and the helpless orphans who turn overnight scavengers roaming the earth. The poet's voice is filled with the ills of the selfish war which was of no good to the people. He expressed his unhappiness by painting a clear image of the helpless orphans. In under-developed countries where the surge of poverty seem almost permanent couple with deep rooted corruption, it is very hard to address the plights of the homeless and the orphans which are victims of circumstances. The poet also tends to show that God takes longer time to intercede or intervene on the evil caused by humans inhumanity which the whole stanza two was about:

"Children of your creation, all, God, their last hope
was your golden chalice. Now it is bitter and inchoate,
even as they pray for your great presence.
Fervent believers all, they were singing those meandrous songs
that did not reach your ears: it was a ritual. Ah, the Wretched 
of The Earth- those not so very innocent children of Sierra Leone!". 

The poem is set in the poet's country and possesses imageries and enjambments. Other notable poetic recipes are "diadems of diamond" in line 1 which is alliteration, "breeze kissed their foreheads" in line 21 which is personification, "On a cloudy horizon, Christ sat watching their profuse deliriums" in line 25 which is a perfect example of imagery in the poem. 



Enunwa Chukwudinma S. aka samueldpoetry
(the Leo with wings flying) 
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