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Analysis Of Hurrah For Thunder by Christopher Okigbo

the photo is from a youtube video
Hurray For Thunder is a classic African poem written by Christopher Okigbo, born 1930 but waved goodbye to this cruel earth in the year 1967 as a result of murder. He was a Nigerian poet and author. This day, he makes the list of Nigerian poets who died fighting for the masses such as Ken Saro Wiwa (see poetic analysis about Ken Saro Wiwa). The poem "Hurray for Thunder" is a political poem which led the poet to the use of symbols to paint his messages. Relating the context of the poem to the poet's time of death, it is clear that the poem subject around the leadership in Nigeria around 1960-1966. Okigbo was of the believe that the government of the time was unfair with the distribution of the national wealth.

Whatever happens to the elephant, let's give praise to the thunder; though the elephant is a very mighty animal, its threads are mortal to everything most especially the grasses. Now that the elephant has fallen dead, let's give praise to the thunder that announced the fall of the mighty elephant because the hunters are already sharing the meet without considering the thunder that played a vital part.

[Another poem about Elephant: Poetic Devices In Salute To The Elephant By Solomon Adeboye Babalola]


Empty promises are worthless, considering what will be the future outcome of the sharing. "The eye that looks down will surely see the nose/ The finger that fits should be used to pick the nose" so let the meat be properly shared accordingly. Okay, Okigbo, the town-crier, it time to keep your mouth shut or be put into troubles for this your advice.

The poet seemed like spoke in parable in his attempt to advice some certain group of people. The whole mentioned in the poem are symbols for instance "thunder" "elephant" "hunter" "meet" "grasses" .because of the danger associated with speaking directly to the group which brought the fearful tone used by the poet at the end of the poem:
"If I don’t learn to shut my mouth I’ll soon go to hell,
I, Okigbo, town-crier/ together with my iron bell."

The line 4-5 "With a wave of the hand/ He could pull four trees to the ground;" is a personification where the elephant is give hand like humans. The line 15, "Today-for tomorrow, today becomes yesterday" is a paradox. The line 16 "How many million promises can ever fill a basket..." is a rhetorical question.
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Enunwa Chukwudinma S aka samueldpoetry
(the Leo with wings flying)

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