Abiku as the name implies is a situation where a child is given birth to in multiple times. It’s a Yoruba word and Yoruba people are very culturally oriented people where giving birth and naming ceremonies are vital culture of the Yoruba people because of the value attached to names and because of circumstances and mysteries surrounding birth (abiku is an instance).

The poem Abiku by John Pepper Clark has a rural setting and words like bats and owls and thatches and bamboos are evidence to support the claim and the setting shows a rural cultural living of the Yoruba people who lived in mud huts before civilization and urbanization tookover the land

Another cultural reflection from the poem is the adamant superstitious believes and supernatural robotism of the Yoruba people. According to line 2-3, “Do stay out on the baobab tree/ Follow where you please your kindred spirits.” the Yorubas have strong believe in unseen force and the two quoted claimed that the actions of Abiku were dictated by some strange forces whose residence is on the baobab tree.

Now that the reflection of culture from the poem has been examined, other possessions of the poem are the theme of poverty (True, it leaks through the thatch/ When floods brim the bank) theme of indecision (the Abiku couldnt makeup his/her mind. Coming and going these several seasons… No longer bestride the threshold/ But step in and stay/ For good) the theme of counselling (the poet played the role of a counsellor to Abiku from start to the end of the poem) the theme of stigmatization and shame ( “We know the knife scars/ Serrating down your back and front/ Like beak of the sword-fish/ And both your ears, notched/ As a bondsman to this house/ Are all relics of your first comings” line 17-22) there are figures of speech (metaphor and simile= “like beak of the sword-fish” symbolism= “floods brim the banks” symbolizes rainy season synecdoche= “several fingers” bond phrase= “coming and going” “back and front”) and many more.

(1) Examine the styles and themes of Abiku by John Pepper Clark.
(2) Examine the elements of culture in J. P. Clark’s “Abiku”.
(3) Compare Abiku by John Pepper Clark with Futility by Wilfred Owen.

>>> MORE POETIC ANALYSIS [deep analysis of post mortem by wole soyinka]

Samuel C. Enunwa aka samueldpoetry
(the Leo with wings flying still)

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