Saturday, 4 February 2017

This is another African poem that focuses its subject on the conflict of culture_ sharing the same theme with the poem titled "Piano and Drums" by Gabriel Okara.

One can hear the poem speaker's willingness to balance both culture or lifestyle by saying in line 11-12 "Sew the old days for us, our fathers/ That we can wear them under our new garment". The issue of colonialism is not out the picture in this poem "The Anvil and The Hammer" by Kofi Awoonor. The alien culture came into Africa via colonialism to mix with the ways of the Africans. The speaker in the poem found himself between the two opposite lifestyles which made him liken himself to an iron to be reshaped by the anvil and the hammer.

The poem is said to be cultural inclined with a colonial setting. Structurally, The Anvil and The Hammer by Kofi Awoonor is a free verse; a free verse is a poem that does not use consistent meter patterns, rhyme,
or any other musical pattern. "Vanity" by Birago Diop loudly spoke of African cultural degeneration and the poem is structurally a free verse and the poem titled "Piano and Drums" by Gabriel Okara loudly spoke of cultural dilemma and it's in a free verse form. The Anvil and The Hammer by Kofi Awoonor has a total of 21 lines divided into 5 unequal stanzas.

Stanza 1 shows the poem speaker standing between African and European culture. Stanza 2 explains how the past has suddenly been redesigned in the present with "paved streets" "jargon of a new dialectic". Stanza 3 calls for balance between African and European culture by sustaining the African culture while living the European way of life. Stanza 4, the poem speaker considered the believed inferiority of African culture as a mere rumour instead he lifted the African norms and believes in presence of civilization. Stanza 5 say and I quote:
"And listen to the reverberation of our songs
In the splash and moan of the sea"

Also Read: What Are The Themes In The Anvil And The Hammer By Kofi Awoonor

Few among the figures of speech in the poem are:-

(1) Repetition; we see words like "new" "songs" "washed" (2) Personification; seen in line 21 "the splash and moan of the sea" (3) Symbolism; where the title of the poem symbolizes African and European. "The Anvil" represent the African culture while "The Hammer" represent the European culture. (4) Imagery; both sight and sound instances are "listen to the reverberation of our songs" which is in line 20, "The trapping of the past, tender and tenuous" in line 5, "we lift high the banner of the land" in line 19. (5) Metaphor;

  • 8 Metaphors in the Anvil and the Hammer by Kofi Awoonor
  • Compare And Contrast Piano And Drums With The Anvil And The Hammer

Kofi Awoonor Williams will never be forgotten among the passionate voices for African literature. His collection of poems are widely read not only among Africans but all lovers of literature in the whole wide world. He was born in Wheta, Ghana. Attended Achimota School, the University of Ghana and the University College in London. Few of his works are The House By The Sea (1978), Rediscovery And Other Poems (1964), etc.


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


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