Thursday, 13 October 2016

Ideological differences can be seen in the poem titled: In The Navel Of The Soul by Kobena Acquah as the voice of the poem favours the traditional way in comparison with the scientific way. This is also another poem with a cultural clash; almost similar to poems like The Anvil And The Hammer by Kofi Awoonor, Piano And Drums by Gabriel Okara, Young Africa's Plea by Dennis Osadebay, etc. The issue of pregnancy detection is the discussion in the poem where pregnancy is determined through the local African way while western scientific way says opposite leading to the argument of proficiency.

Kobena Eyi Acquah is a Ghanaian poet born in the year 1952. He is also a legal practitioner educated at the University of Ghana and the Ghana Law School. Now it is no surprise that Kobena created a poem with a debatable opinion or view.

A quick summary of the eight stanzas of the poem "In The Navel Of The Soul" go thus:-
Stanza one says that it is possible for a traditional birth-giver to detect pregnancy by a mere touch on the tommy.

The stanza two say that the medical practitioner's urine test, accompanied with other biological signs and observation say negative.

Then the third stanza says but the traditional birth-giver can feel a baby in the same tommy that urine test claims negative.

Stanza four, imagine if we can see for ourselves, we would have thought ourselves dreaming, with all the lies they made with your name.

Stanza five, even now that their pose for brilliance and over caring attitude are heightened, we are very sure.
The stanza six is as simple as "They say we have gone all out of our mind"

Then stanza seven and eight say they're now claiming that we are in sane; God, if insanity will free us from their deceits, let it be because we can also feel a moving baby in this womb.

The use of pronoun "they" and "their" by the poet is a way to avoid emphasis. To avoid emphasising the phrase "The experts" which refers to the medical practitioners. There are more imageries to drive the message of the poet deep into the heart of the readers.

Let's expatiate on the following lines "a spirit refusing to be drowned/ in its own waters/ before birth."
The poet used the phrase "a spirit" to mean an unborn baby in the womb of the mother. While "in its own waters" symbolizes the womb and the movement of the baby in the womb which is felt by the mother is painted by the poet as "refusing to be drowned".

Contrast As A Poetic Device:-
To start with, the poem portrays a contrasting believe between the traditional medicine and the modern medicine. Not only that, there are some glaring contrasts in the voice of the poet in reference to lines such as "we are not sure —/ No. We are sure" "the things that are done/ in Your name —/ I mean, the things that are undone/ behind
the flimsy facade of Your name".

The Theme Of Conflict of Culture:-
The poem looks at the means of determining pregnancy from two different practices (the traditional medical practice and the modern medical practice) where the traditional is symbolized as "the midwives of the spirit" while the modern is symbolized as "The experts". The conflicting idea begins when the traditionalists determine pregnancy by just a touch on the belly but the modernists (so called experts) undergoes laboratory testing or scientific experiments to determine the presence of pregnancy.

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


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