we Poetic Devices in the Leader and the Led by Niyi Osundare ~ Naija Poets

POETIC DEVICES:

The obvious and simple to remember  among the poetic devices embedded in the poem are (a) simile (b) antithesis (c) symbolism (d) imagery (e) alliteration (f) repetition (g) metaphor

Simile; creating comparison with the use of like or as. In the poem, there's "like a snake without a head" in line 10, " Tough like a tiger, compassionate like a doe" in line 19, “Transparent like a river, mysterious like a lake" in line 20.

Metaphor; is an indirect comparison in a work of art. The poem The Leader and the Led was built on a metaphorical ground. It is a metaphor of things that happen in a human democratic setting whenever it comes to the issue of electing a new leader.

Repetition; is a poetic device where certain words, phrases, lines, or verses are repeated twice or more to create a sing-song rhythm or emphasis in a poem. Just for mentioning sake, few words repeated in the poem are “pack” in line 2, 10, 15. “lead” in line 9 and 24. Repetition of phrase such as “A little bit of a” in stanza 12.

 Imagery; using words or expressions to created mental picture in a poem so the readers can see, smell, feel the event clearer. Few in the poem are "But the impalas shudder at his lethal appetite" in line 6, "And the pack trashes around" in line 16, "The pack points to the duplicity of his stripes" in line 10.

Symbolism; using word or expression to represent a status, event, or idea. In the poem The Leader and the Led, the term “Forest Sage” symbolised a wise person which in a normal human democratic setting represents the poet.

Alliteration; successive use of consonant sounds within a line or two in a poem. "hybrid of habits” in line 17, “far from the ground” in line 8, “pounce of his paws” in line 4, “The pack points to” in line 10.

Antithesis; creating an opposing or contrasting opinion or character in a work of art. This is the dominating poetic device because most line of the couplets share opposite characters. Hyena versus impalas in stanza 3 “The hyena says the crown is made for him/ But the impalas shudder at his lethal appetite” and the elephant versus the colleagues in stanza 6. Another instance of antithesis is in stanza 11.



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