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Analysis Of Profit And Loss By Sly Cheney-Coker


Profit and Loss

For Ken Saro-Wiwa

"Benevolent Gods, you honeyed tongues!
You give us gifts to pass on to our children:
Good genes, moral convictions, a passion
for the arts and a curiosity about the mysteries
of the planets. In the great depths of oceans
your splendid hands touch us, we watch the shark's
cunning, giant whales breathe fire!

But other Gods, contemptuous of us,
with a knowledge of how spendthrift
we shall become, have given us the lure of gems,
lush perishables of wildlife and forests,
and deltas where the soul drowns in oil:
Curses to men and women who, freelancing
in every known vice, tempted your hands
until you threw them out of paradise!"
©Copyright: Sly Cheney-Coker.

Profit and Loss is a Sly Cheney-Coker's poem written in memory of Ken Saro-Wiwa (a Nigerian poet and activist who lived from 1941-1995. His death came as a result of fighting against the encroachment in his homeland; the Ogoniland). Sly Cheney-Coker is a Sierra Leonean poet and teacher who stepped off his mother's womb on the 28th of June in the year 1945.

[It must be noted that naijaoets.com.ng has endeavor to post some poetic analysis which are as interesting as the poem titled "Profit and Loss" and here are five exampples: (1)Analysis of When This Carnival Finally Closes , (2)Analysis of Living Is A Fire, (3)Analysis of Ololu: Egungun, (4)Analysis of Living Ancient , (5)Analysis of In Bazaars of Hyerabad ]

The poem speaker juxtaposed two gifts which are the marvelous gifts from Gods to human beings and the mineral resources. The first stanza is absolute profit to human beings The use of "Gods" in the poem a symbols where in stanza 1, any unseen forces that control the affairs of human are referred to as "Gods" while "Gods" in stanza 2, stood for land, oceans, and any other earthly elements that provide mineral resources for the benefits of mankind. The stanza 2 speaks of the mineral materials deposited for human benefits but human beings on the other hand misused those resources and turned the earth into many lands of oil spill because of their greeds and selfishness.

Not only that the poem is short (a mere two stanza poem_ total fifteen lines), the theme of the poem is quite simple as well. The first is the everlasting gift of God to man which is the ability to understand right from wrong. Another theme relates to how human greed backfires_ by siting the Niger Delta crude oil pollution as a meaningful illustration.

"Curses to men and women who, freelancing
in every known vice, tempted your hands
until you threw them out of paradise!"
The above quote which concludes the lines of the poem is a biblical allusion to the Adam and Eve evacuation off the Garden of Eden and the allusion was aimed at symbolizing human beings and their sinful traits.
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Enunwa Chukwudinma S aka samueldpoetry
(the Leo with wings flying)

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