Letter To Martha 17 written by Dennis Brutus is a great poem that revealed that one never misses a good thing till it departs. The poem speaker found importance in things that never amounted to anything.
The major theme of the poem is freedom. Because of imprisonment, the poem spea
ker realized the importance of being able to move freely from one distance to another without barricades, the importance of being able to see whatever one wishes to see without blockades, and the importance of being independent.
Cloud, sky, stars, birds, became the agents of freedom. In line 1 and 2, it was said that “In prison/ the clouds assume importance”, then the hope of seeing the stars came to the mind of the poem speaker in line 11 followed by the thought about the complex aeronautics of the birds, their absolute freedom from care and the graceful unimpeded motion of the clouds which was likened to music, poetry and dance in stanza 4, 5, and 6.
It was shown in the poem that the hope for freedom and the admiration of those or things that are free would definitely lead the confined person into the realm of rhetorical questions. That is why four lines of rhetorical questions ended the poem:
“_where are they going
where will they dissolve
will they be seen by those at home
and whom will they delight?
The themes of the poem are (1) the importance of freedom (2) the effects of imprisonment (3) the unnoticed freedom of nature. The poem holds a tone of bewilderment and the language was simple with enjambments. Similes and personifications accompanied the great use of imagery to polish the poem.
Dennis Brutus was born in 1924 in Rhodesia, lived in South Africa, taught in South African High school, arrested for protest against Apartheid in 1963, etc.
Samuel C. Enunwa aka samueldpoetry
(the Leo with wings flying)