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


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.


Post a Comment

Popular Posts

Article Index

website traffic

Blog Archive


1. Strange Horizons.

2. Cricket Media

3. The Antigonish Review

4. Arts & Letters.

5. 50 Haikus

6. Three Line Poetry

7. The American Journal of Nursing

8. New Letters

9. Poetry Magazine


1. The Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poets

2. Brunel International African Poetry Prize

3. Writing Contests, Grants & Awards | Poets & Writers

4. Mississippi Review Poetry Contest

5. Bayou Magazine's Kay Murphy Prize for Poetry

6. Gemini Magazine Poetry Open

7. The Colorado Review Prize for Poetry

8. USA Gold Pencils Student Poetry Contest

9. The Marsh Hawk Press Poetry Prize

10. The Backwaters Prize

11. Black River Chapbook Competition

12. Grist's Pro Forma Writing Contest

13. Tethered by Letters 2020 Spring Literary Contest

14. Juxtaprose 2020 Poetry Contest

15. The Cossack Review's October Poetry Prize

16. Boston Review Annual Poetry Contest

17. TIFERET Writing Contest

18. Boulevard Emerging Poets Contest

19. The Bitter Oleander Press Library of Poetry Award

20. Annual Gival Press Oscar Wilde Award