Professor Remi Raji is a teacher of Literature at the Department of English Language, University of Ibadan, Nigeria.
The themes of the poem are (i) victimization (ii) silence (iii) destruction (iv) killing and torturing (v) pain and panic
[Also Read: Toast by Remi Raji]
Setting, style, and diction:-
(i) chaotic setting (ii) free verse (iii) simple diction aided by enjambment
(i) symbolism in line 1 “Beast” (ii) metaphor in line 2-3 (iii) alliteration in line 7 (iv) simile in line 12 (v) metonym in line 13 (vi) irony in line 14 (vii) rhetorical question in line 16 (viii) run-on-lines in the poem (ix) repetitions of “who sings”.
The poem captures the total gagging of protests against arbitrary rule. The beast is a symbol of a tryrant ruler i.e Abacha.
Line 3-5: Sorrow, fear and hardship have choked the remaining lean happiness.
Line 6-8: who will sing when the drums to be used have been split and used as podium for public protests.
Line 9-12: We now only grumble our disapproval like amputated tongue.
Line 13-15: people that tried to shout their protests against misrule and tyranny are treated like criminals by soldiers. “Boots barrels” and “gifts of grenades” kept people in silence.
who sings when the Beast prowls
when Night thickens
with dreams of blood
when Sorrow’s scent suffocates
the remains of lean laughter
when slit drums stand spent
and deaf in defiled groves
when rhyme’s winds
like amputated tongues
when boots barrels
and the gift of grenades
chase the choir into silence.
WHO SINGS WHEN THE BEAST PROWLS?”
Samuel C. Enunwa aka samueldpoetry
(the Leo with wings flying)