Crispin George was a Sierra Leonean born in 1902. He published his own poetry anthology Precious Gems Unearthed by an African and nearly all his poems were non-political but strongly religious; the poem “Weigh Your Words” is quite no exception.
“Weigh Your Words” is a poem describing the goods and dangers words can cause then the poet warns that words can live forever so people must be mindful of their usage.
The poem contains alliteration “words may wound” (line 1) “furious air will scatter foliage” (line 7) “their passage-way be paved” (line 28). Similes are “like v
iands on the table” (line 11) “like atom-bombs” (line 13). Metaphor, imageries, parallelism, etc.
The following words existed in the movie and deserve explanation: Verbiage; the use of many words when a few would be sufficient. Viands; articles of food. Heinous; hateful. Harbinger; messengers sent beforehand to give advance notice or warning. Light the fuse of carnage; carnage means great destruction of life. The poet means that words are like the fuse used to explode gunpowder. Strike the oil of peace; when oil is poured on rough water it makes the waves smooth. If a match is struck, the oil will burst into flame. Scales of justice; justice is often represented as a figure holding a pair of scales.
The poem was seven stanzas of four lines per stanza. It had a tone of admonition, end rhyme scheme, simple dictions.
The good and evil of word usage is one of the themes of the poem. “Simple words may wound or soothen/ Much depending on their use” in line one and two of the poem, he further explained that the wrongly used word “will scatter foliage/ Thoughtless words good friends disperse” in line seven and eight while well used word was compared to “viands on the table/ They revive the hungry soul” according to line thirteen and fourteen.
Prudence is also a theme of the poem since words are two-way outcome, the poet employed the users to add wisdom and carefulness when dishing out words:
“Words, like atom-bombs, are heinous,
When they hurt both friend and foe;
Dangerous, cowardly and callous,
These are harbingers of woe.” (stanza 4)
“Weigh them in the scales of justice
And be sure of their control;
Do not wing your words at random,
They may fly beyond their goal.” (stanza 6)
Immortality is a theme where the poet considered words undying and evergreen, even when they are in a state of unuse; they lurk “at the portal/ Till their passage-way be paved” (line 27 and 28).