we Review Of Diviner's Hand By Lola Shoneyin ~ Naija Poets
This is maternal and more like a soliloquy. A mother speaking to her baby while combing her hairs. She had the worries of whether she would live old to tell the baby all the most needed experiences of life.
In the first stanza, she had the worry about how long she would live on earth to take care of the baby and comb the baby's hairs:
"Sometimes I wonder
how much longer I shall be here
to bite your hair
with my wooden toothcomb."
She saw death as something romantic which made her claim that she wasn't afraid of death:
"I am not afraid
of the freeze of frail fingers;
there is something
romantic about loss."
In the third and fourth stanzas, Lola Shoneyin revealed that she only worried about uncertainty of human lives and the unpredictability
in death:
"But I worry about the uneven rhythm
of the diviner’s hand,
the widening waist
that filters sand.

I worry that time
rests its hand on doorknob
and taps the floor
with its iron toe tip."
According to stanza five to seven, Shoneyin told the baby listening that she had a lot of life's secrets, tricks, and lessons to teach the baby as she grew but if time (death) betrayed her trust and turned to an entity that didn't care about the coexistence of a lovely mother and daughter, then the baby should read the poem and learn two vital lessons (the first being that a life lived well is a wave in flight and the second lesson being that discarded dreams draw out painful night):
I must show you
the tricks my mother didn’t teach me;
tell you the tales that never reached me.
But if time will spurn
a mother’s wish
or turn its face away
from a daughter’s need,
remember this, little one:
a life lived well is a wave in flight;
discarded dreams
draw out painful night."
There are ambiguities in the last three lines. "a life lived well is a wave in flight" could mean that perfection in life is different, it could mean that a life lived well will not be noticed, it could mean that human behavior is unstable. "discarded dreams draw out painful night" could mean that intuition should not be made flimsy, it could mean that any reasonable ambition that is ignored at youth will bring regret when someone gets old.
"to bite your hair with my wooden toothcomb" has a personification, "discarded dreams draw" "life lived" are few among the alliterations, etc.

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

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