Friday, 20 October 2017

The poem “Unholy Marriage” was written by David Holbrook who lived between 1923 and 2011. His career record showed he was more than a poet but a well-known academician. According to Wikipedia record, “From 1989 he was an Emeritus Fellow of Downing College, Cambridge.”

The poem narrated an evening vehicle accident that took the life of a careful virgin girl. Though a virgin she was but ironically in what looked like "Unholy Marriage" or "Unwilling Marriage" her virtuous body was compressed with that of a strange man when a truck collided with the vehicle she boarded causing both their "blood and brain and bone" to mix while their naked bodies were pieced everywhere so hard to recognise. 

The poem speaker then blamed and mocked the girl for her own misfortune; she was blamed for not realizing how senseless and insensible vehicles had always been, and she was mocked for trading her pleasurable youthfulness for abstinence which had never assured anyone certainty of reward.

[ Similar poem is Analysis Of A Taxi Driver On His Death By Timothy Wangusa ]

Unholy Marriage is a seven stanza poem with a regular end rhyme scheme. Narrated from a third person point of view, each stanza is six lines in count with perfect imageries and simple diction. The events of the poem set at a foggy night and were climatic, flowng as follows: In stanza one, she was a very well nurtured virgin lady who had never shared "Cool soft anointment of her breasts". 

In stanza two, she would have been so sweet in bed_ imagining her bridegroom sweating while receiving the benediction of her breasts_ yes, because she truly kept herself for the best. In stanza three, the piece of her body are gathered like blown sheets of papers. In stanza four and five, she failed to realise "No wheel has built-in sense, she shared a vehicle seat with a strange man and suddenly like unholy marriage, her virgin blood mixed with that of a stranger. Stanza six and seven go thus:

"Anointed only by the punctured oil
poured like unleashed wind or fire from bag
Sold by some damned magician out to spoil
The life that girded in this young girl's breast,
Now never to unfurl her flag
And march love's happy quest.

Her mother hears the clock; her sighs,
Takes off his boots: she's late tonight 
I hope she's careful virgin: men have eyes
For cherished daughters growing in the breast.
Some news? They hear the gate.
A man comes: not the best."

The poem has the following themes_ Death, Virginity, Accident, Uncrtainty, etc. Death cannot be ruled out of the journey of earthly living because uncertainty is one among the limitations in mortal beings, the poet saw virginity as an expensive foolishness and that was his reason for mocking the virgin girl who lost her lost not only her life but her virginity to a terrible vehicle accident.


Enunwa Chukwudinma Samuel aka samueldpoetry
(the Leo With Wings Flying)


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