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All CSEC Poems (2018-2023) Analysis and Summary (+PDF Download)

Updated: Jun 7, 2021


All CSEC Poems Analysis and Summary- Que
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A document with cross-analyses and comparisons between poems based on themes and figurative devices will be released soon as well.


Analysis of All CSEC Poems, (2018-2023)

Created by Quelpr.com (JH)



Orchids

Hazel Simmons-McDonald

I leave this house

box pieces of the five-week life I’ve gathered.


I’ll send them on

to fill spaces in my future life.


One thing is left

a spray of orchids someone gave

from a bouquet one who

makes a ritual of flower-giving sent.




The orchids have no fragrance

but purple petals draw you

to look at the purple heart.


I watered them once

when the blossoms were full blown

like polished poems.

I was sure they’d wilt

and I would toss them out with the five-week litter.


They were stubborn.

I starved them.

They would not die.



This morning the bud at the stalk’s tip unfurled.

I think I’ll pluck the full-blown blooms

press them between pages of memory.


Perhaps in their thin dried transparency


I’ll discover their peculiar poetry.

Summary

The persona seems to be moving out of a house after renting it for a five-week period. Now, all that remains in her space is an orchid in which she has found no value. This flower was given to her by a friend who compulsively gives flowers as gifts, and thus, she doesn’t think of the orchid as special in any way. So much so, in fact, that she only watered it once when it had been in full bloom. She seems perplexed by its resilience and its refusal to wilt despite only being watered once. She expected this orchid to be merely something she would discard after her period of renting/living in her current house. Just like this ‘five-week life,’ she expects it to wither away and have no further meaning after becoming but an insignificant memory. The orchid is stubborn, and does not die. Despite her initial indifference to it, she is drawn to the orchid and its petals and decides to pluck the blooms of the orchid and preserve it between the pages of a book, hoping to one day understand a deeper meaning behind the orchids’ resilience. Note how the poem is written, broken up into several stanzas with few lines. This reflects how the persona leads a somewhat nomadic lifestyle, considering that she is leaving after only 5 weeks. Thus, her life, like the structure of the poem is broken up into several shorter periods of living in different places. The tone of the poem is reflective.

Analysis

“I leave this house box pieces of the five-week life I’ve gathered.”

The persona is evidently leaving a house in which she has spent 5 weeks. Over this time period, she has gathered several aspects of a life; which is now packaged in boxes. The poet uses a metaphor in ‘box pieces of the five-week life I’ve gathered.’ The boxes are directly said to contain ‘pieces’ of the life she has gathered over five weeks. Thus, the contents of the boxes are directly compared to fragments of her life.

“I’ll send them on to fill spaces in my future life.”

The persona will now send these boxes to another home only to ‘fill spaces’ in another life a few weeks in length. The diction here suggests that the things she gathers only serve to take up spaces rather than serving sentimental value, as she seems to move often, defining each move as a transition into another life.

“One thing is left a spray of orchids someone gave from a bouquet one who makes a ritual of flower-giving sent.”

She has assembled everything and placed them into boxes, except for one final piece: a spray of orchids. This plant was given to her by someone who apparently gifts flowers ritually. The gift then seems vapid and in no way special- given only as a passing thought, since the person so compulsively gives flowers.

“The orchids have no fragrance but purple petals draw you to look at the purple heart.”

What the orchids lack in fragrance (like other flowers would have) they make up for in a sense of intrigue, as they demand your attention. The persona uses alliteration in ‘purple petals’ to communicate the vibrant colour of the petals. The repetition of that bilabial plosive ‘p’ sound reflects the striking nature of the petals in their ability to attract attention. The persona says that these petals draw one to ‘look at the purple heart.’ This communicates two things. Firstly, it relates the immediately recognizable structure at the centre of the bloom of an orchid, which is sort of like a heart due to its centrality, and in this case would be purple. Purple heart also alludes to a medal of honour given to US troops who exhibit notable bravery during their service. Thus, the orchids are also given a dimension/characteristic of bravery, which will be expounded upon in the later stanzas.

“I watered them once when the blossoms were full blown like polished poems. I was sure they’d wilt and I would toss them out with the five-week litter.”

The persona says that she had only cared to water the orchids once during a period of their full bloom. This conveys the indifference of the persona; the orchids are simply a passing gift, which, to her, are only worth a single watering and nothing more. The poet utilizes an alliteration encapsulated within a simile to relate the blossoms to poems in ‘when the blossoms were full blown like polished poems.’ Thus, the pleasance and appeal of the orchid’s blooms is related to the beauty and perfection in astute craft of polished poems. The persona relates that she expected the orchids to wilt and die, and obviously would not have cared in the slightest. Her plan was to simply discard of them along with the other things she found no need for after her five-week sojourn. She held no expectation for its survival, and thus saw it fit that it would be done away with once her need to stay there had dissipated.

“They were stubborn. I starved them. They would not die.”

Despite her attempt at getting rid of the orchids through starvation and neglect, they remained alive. They take on a dimension of strength and bravery in their survival, as they seem to refuse to concede death so easily. The persona uses mostly monosyllabic language here to communicate a form of confusion and surprise at their resilience. This stanza also shows that she was intent on causing their death- her neglect of them was not simply because she cared very little about their existence, but also because she wanted to see them wilt and die to discard them, just like her five-week stay.

“This morning the bud at the stalk’s tip unfurled.”

Now, on her final morning (presumably) before leaving, the orchid has not only survived neglect, but prospered. The sleeping bud has burst into bloom, unravelling the petals and purple heart within. This realization of its resilience and quaint beauty triggers a change in the persona’s view of the orchid, explored in the final lines.

“I think I’ll pluck the full-blown blooms press them between pages of memory.

The persona decides to take these open blooms and preserve them between pages, and evidently in her memory as well. An alliteration is used here as well, ‘full blown blooms,’ communicating that these flowers truly have exploded and burst into the peak of their beauty and radiance. The persona will preserve these flowers, keep them close in memory, as she seems to have been impacted by the orchids. Unlike everything else, either in ‘box pieces’ or in the ‘five-week litter,’ she places the flowers between pages to keep them, as though a souvenir or keepsake.

“Perhaps in their thin dried transparency

I’ll discover their peculiar poetry.”

In preserving the flowers, she hopes to uncover a deeper meaning behind their resilience. The poet utilizes alliteration in the final line, ‘peculiar poetry,’ conveying that these blooms have a cryptic message that the persona intends to analyse and uncover.


This is the Dark Time, My Love

Martin Carter

This is the dark time, my love,

All round the land brown beetles crawl about.

The shining sun is hidden in the sky

Red flowers bend their heads in awful sorrow.

This is the dark time, my love,

It is the season of oppression, dark metal, and tears.

It is the festival of guns, the carnival of misery.

Everywhere the faces of men are strained and anxious.

Who comes walking in the dark night time?

Whose boot of steel tramps down the slender grass?

It is the man of death, my love, the strange invader

Watching you sleep and aiming at your dream.

Summary

This poem is written in the context of the pain and suffering associated with war, and specifically the struggles of Guyana during British colonization in 1953. At that point, the constitution had been suspended to allow Britain to send soldiers into Guyana to crush the uprising of the people. It is likely that the ‘love’ spoken of by the persona is his country, however it could also simply be a woman who he loves. The poet communicates a gloomy atmosphere plagued with the sentiment of doom due to oppression by soldiers and weapons of terror. Nature reflects this gloom, as seen in the absence of sunlight and drooping flowers. The people of the country are all melancholy and anxiety-stricken, visibly oppressed by the spoils of war. Death (and war) is personified as a man who tramples not only nature, but the peace and dreams of the persona’s country underfoot. The mood of the poem is dismal and gloomy. The tone is pessimistic and sad, and the themes include war, conflict, doom, death and despair.


“This is the dark time, my love,”

The persona begins by declaring the dismal nature of their current time. This time is characterized by darkness, and therefore a sentiment of impending doom and unfavourable outcomes. The titular line conveys that the persona is speaking to someone, his ‘love,’ which could simply be his lover, but could be better interpreted as being his country (like how the persona of ‘It is the Constant Image of Your Face’ (Dennis Brutus) refers to his country as his ‘dearest love.’

“All round the land brown beetles crawl about.”

This refers to the British soldiers who occupied the country during this time. Note the use of alliteration here in ‘brown beetles.’ The persona communicates a landscape filled with the soldiers, corresponding to the atmosphere of war.

“The shining sun is hidden in the sky Red flowers bend their heads in awful sorrow.”

Now, nature seems to reflect the dismal mood, the ‘dark time’ if you well. The sun does not shine in the sky, so it is not just dark in the sense of gloom, but also literally, with the absence of sunlight. The sun, like any sign of positive outcome or optimism is hidden. Reinforcing the mood, the poet personifies red flowers by saying that they ‘bend their heads in awful sorrow.’ The flowers are given the quality of emotion and reflecting that emotion. Thus, even the flowers are mourning the dark times of death and sorrow. They are the colour red (the colour of blood), essentially the only colour mentioned in the poem.

“This is the dark time, my love, It is the season of oppression, dark metal, and tears.”

The persona describes this dark time as a season, characterized by endless oppression, the dark metal of the machines of war and sadness. Note the repetition of the word ‘dark,’ which communicates the pessimistic outlook and an atmosphere of terror. The ‘dark metal’ likely refers to tankers and guns which oppress the people of the persona’s country.

“It is the festival of guns, the carnival of misery. Everywhere the faces of men are strained and anxious.”

The poet utilizes two oxymorons here (two contradicting ideas in close succession). He refers to this dark time of war as a festival (associated with joy and celebration) of guns (machines of terror, oppression and violent death). Quite incompatible/contradictory terms. He continues by describing it as a carnival (associated with fun and the joy of children) of misery (a terrible emotion of helplessness and despair). The persona remarks the strained emotions in the faces of everyone around him- including his own countrymen and the soldiers.

“Who comes walking in the dark night time? Whose boot of steel tramps down the slender grass?”

The poet uses rhetorical questions to lead into the reveal of a personification of war and death. It hints at something being closely related to dark times such as these, who has a ‘boot of steel.’ This reflects the oppressive and abusive effect war has, pressing down on not only the environment, but on the people of the country as well. It tramples the grass underfoot, showing blatant disregard for nature- opting instead to fulfil selfish goals through needless death and suffering.

“It is the man of death, my love, the strange invader Watching you sleep and aiming at your dream.”

The poet personifies death as a strange invader to the persona’s country. This man of death is said to not only crush nature under his steel boot, but also watch the persona’s love sleep and aim at destroying her dream. If the love he refers to truly is his country, then the man of death aims to wreck any possibility of realization of the dream held by the country overall- one of freedom and independence. The war and conflict spurred by the invasion of soldiers to crush resistance and attempts at liberation directly intends to destroy the dreams and optimism of the people of the country overall.


Ol’ Higue

Mark McWatt


You think I like all this stupidness

gallivanting all night without skin

burning myself out like cane –fire

To frighten the foolish?

And for what? A few drops of baby blood?

You think I wouldn’t rather

take my blood seasoned in fat

black-pudding, like everyone else?

And don’t even talk ‘bout the pain of salt

And having to bend these old bones down

To count a thousand grains of rice!


If only babies didn’t smell so nice!

And if I could only stop

Hearing the soft, soft call

Of that pure blood running in new veins,

Singing the sweet song of life

Tempting an old, dry-up woman who been

Holding her final note for years,

Afraid of the dying hum…


Then again, if I didn’t fly and come

to that fresh pulse in the middle of the night,

how would you, mother,

name your ancient dread,

And who to blame

for the murder inside your head…?

Believe me –

As long as it have women giving birth

A poor ol’ higue like me can never dead.


Summary

The 'Ole Higue' is a supernatural character found in Caribbean folklore. This nocturnal being is also called a jumbie, soucouyant and backoo as is a mixture of a vampire and a witch. In Caribbean folklore the Ole Higue or Old Hag is an old woman. She sheds her skin at nights; stores it in a mortar and turns into a ball of fire before going about to suck the blood of babies.

In the poem, the Ole Higue appears bitter and unhappy with the circumstance she is in. She defends the involuntary nature of her compulsive behaviour. She seems repulsed by the mothers of young children, yet she believes she plays an important role in society by being a scapegoat for the infanticidal tendencies of some mothers and the inexplicable. She comes across as self-centered, but also clever and insightful.

The Ole Higue wishes that she didn't have such an affinity for children, however, she knows that the myth of her existence can never die as long as mothers have children and need something- or someone to blame for their deaths.

The mood of the poem is irritable, and somewhat smug and bitter. The tone is argumentative and defensive, but also reflective and sensitive towards the end of the poem.


Analysis

"You think I like all this stupidness

gallivanting all night without skin

burning myself out like cane –fire

To frighten the foolish?"

The Ole Higue begins with an explosive and argumentative first line. Note that the diction (choice of words/language) is distinctly Caribbean, and reflective of her identity as an old, irritable woman. She expresses great dissatisfaction with what she does- however she is compelled to do so completely involuntarily. This alludes to an old wives’ tale told in the Caribbean of a hag who sheds her skin at night, turns into a ball of fire and scares superstitious people. She considers this act stupid, simply to 'frighten the foolish' superstitious who believe in the myth. Note the alliteration here in 'frighten the foolish.'


"And for what? A few drops of baby blood?"

She reasons that the whole act of setting herself on fire without skin and flying around is far more effort than it is worth. After all, a baby's body contains barely any blood, and for a mythical creature to compulsively go through this routine for such a negligible quantity is ludicrous to her- it is not rewarding at all.


"You think I wouldn’t rather

take my blood seasoned in fat

black-pudding, like everyone else?"

Instead of the bland blood of babies, the Ole Higue would much rather have her blood like everyone else does- well-seasoned and in black-pudding. This shows again that she in no way wants to do such an unrewarding task, but is forced to do this nonetheless.


"And don’t even talk ‘bout the pain of salt

And having to bend these old bones down

To count a thousand grains of rice!"

These lines are another allusion to the folklore of the Ole Higue. She must look out for salt, as it can injure or kill her (which makes sense since she has no skin). When salt is placed into the mortar with her skin in it, she can no longer put it on (does that sound familiar? There's a similar tale in Breath, Eyes, Memory). People may also obstruct her from reaching her infant victims by placing rice in front of their doors. Once an Ole Higue sees the rice she must count every grain before she can gain access. The intention is to keep her counting until the sun rises, making it impossible for her to enter the house and suck the baby’s blood. Thus, the Ole Higue is often obstructed in trying to drink the blood of babies adding to her seemingly endless misery.


"If only babies didn’t smell so nice!

And if I could only stop

Hearing the soft, soft call

Of that pure blood running in new veins,

Singing the sweet song of life

Tempting an old, dry-up woman who been

Holding her final note for years,

Afraid of the dying hum…"

The Ole Higue is incredibly attracted to baby blood, and she presents this in a sort of defence for killing them. The pure, untainted scent of babies' blood tempts her- she finds their aroma irresistible. The alliteration in "singing the sweet song of life" conveys the attractive quality of these infants' blood to the Ole Higue. The blood of the children represent new life- life which she has been trying to hold on to for years. She knows that the babies are at the beginning of the life cycle, and she is at the end; but she can alter the passage of this natural cycle. She prolongs her aged existence by bringing the babies’ lives to a premature end.



"Then again, if I didn’t fly and come

to that fresh pulse in the middle of the night,

how would you, mother,

name your ancient dread,"

Now, she identifies her own role in society. She also names to whom she speaks (when she says 'you')- she refers to the mothers of these newborn children. It seems that the Ole Higue is simply a mechanism by which these mothers may name the longstanding dread or fear of the possible death of their babies. Without her, she contends that these mothers would have no one to hold responsible for the death of their babies (even if it was just of natural causes).


"And who to blame

for the murder inside your head…?

Believe me –

As long as it have women giving birth

A poor ol’ higue like me can never dead."

She suggests something interesting through these cryptic lines- possibly that these mothers blame the Ole Higue for the death of their children even in the event that they had committed infanticide. However, it could also be that they need someone- like the Ole Higue- to direct their murderous rage for the death of their baby towards. Nonetheless, she knows that for as long as there are women giving birth to children, they will need a scapegoat to blame for the plight that befalls their children. Thus, the myth of her existence can never die.


Dulce et Decorum Est

Wilfred Owen


Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,

Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,

Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs,

And towards our distant rest began to trudge.

Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots,

But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;

Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots

Of gas-shells dropping softly behind.


Gas! GAS! Quick, boys!—An ecstasy of fumbling

Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time,

But someone still was yelling out and stumbling

And flound’ring like a man in fire or lime.—

Dim through the misty panes and thick green light,

As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.


In all my dreams before my helpless sight,

He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.


If in some smothering dreams, you too could pace

Behind the wagon that we flung him in,

And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,

His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin;

If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood

Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,

Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud

Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues—

My friend, you would not tell with such high zest

To children ardent for some desperate glory,

The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est

Pro patria mori.


Summary

The poem is written as a harsh, but ultimately fair criticism of the atrocities of war. The poet wrote this whilst hospitalized after experiencing fighting in the trenches of Northern France in World War I. The soldiers in a languid, drowsy state march slowly, shell-shocked by the traumas of war and losing touch with their own senses. He recounts in graphic detail being caught in the noxious gases of chemical warfare and watching one of his fellow soldiers unable to fit the gas helmet on in time. This man, stumbling, yelling and screaming suffers a slow painful death, choking in the cruel toxic gas. This image of the man dying before the persona's eyes, with him unable to help, stays with him in his dreams. This graphic, traumatic sight leads the persona to a blunt conclusion. Having seen this man die before his eyes, his lungs corrupted by the chemicals, he finds no true glory or goodness in martyrdom for one's country. The image of an innocent man needlessly killed in his country's conflict drives the persona to rebuke the hackneyed maxim 'dulce et decorum est pro patria mori.' He doesn't believe that any child searching for glory should ever be told this; a shameful falsehood that death on the battlefield is 'sweet.' Owen does not hold back in this criticism, and sincerely concludes the gruesome death of war is not sweet, nor are these innocent lives lost in such traumatic ways reflective of a joy in patriotic martyrdom.

The themes of the poem include war, propaganda, patriotism, trauma and martyrdom. The mood of the poem is pitiful, and the tone is both critical and pitiful.


Analysis

"Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,"

The soldiers are slouched over, lacking energy and vivacity as though encumbered by a literal weight. The poet uses a simile in "like old beggars under sacks," showing that just like beggars weighed down by heavy sacks and unable to stand up straight due to old age, the soldiers are bent over in their slow trudge, fatigued by the spoils of war.


"Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge, Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs, And towards our distant rest began to trudge."

This line begins with an alliteration 'knock kneed' continuing a theme that progresses throughout the poem- the description of the disfiguration of the soldiers. They definitely didn't go to war looking like this, but they have been spent, and their bodies are reeling from the deleterious effects of war. Another simile is used here 'coughing like hags' comparing their dry, hacking coughing to that of an old woman (hag).

Now, they turn their backs on the 'haunting flares,' showing that they are leaving the battlefield now, with its distressing explosions (flares) and gunshots. Finally, they can trudge to their 'distant rest' away from the agonies of war.


"Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots, But limped on, blood-shod."

The poet uses alliteration once again with the repetition of the 'm' sound: "men marched asleep." The 'm' sound is often associated with the mindless humming of a person severely tired or groggy. Thus, the drowsy way in which the men walked is communicated both with the alliteration and the line itself, as their trudging makes it seem as though they are asleep and merely sleepwalking.

Many men are said to have 'lost their boots,' which may be a euphemism for losing their feet in explosions. Nonetheless, they limp onward 'blood-shod.' Shod here means to be fit with a shoe (like a horse). So, having no boots (and maybe missing a foot), their feet are instead covered with blood.


"All went lame; all blind; Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots Of gas-shells dropping softly behind."

The soldiers are exhausted to such a point that they are losing their sense of touch, sight and even hearing as they are intoxicated with enervation and fatigue. Their reactions and senses dulled by tiresome battle on the frontlines, some are even unable to hear the gas-shells thrown out behind them.


"Gas! GAS! Quick, boys!—An ecstasy of fumbling Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time,"

Toxic gas, the cruel weapon of chemical warfare used by countries during WWI, begins to spew out of the shells, and they must fumble madly to fit their gas masks over their heads to survive the gas attack. The poet uses 'ecstasy of fumbling' to communicate the frenzy the soldiers are in to try get their helmets on.


"But someone still was yelling out and stumbling And flound’ring like a man in fire or lime.—"

Not everyone is able to slimly avoid breathing the noxious gas by slipping on their helmets- one man still struggles amidst the toxic fumes. He is yelling, stumbling and floundering about, showing distress and agony. The poet uses simile again here in 'flound'ring like a man in fire' to compare his struggling, stumbling, plunging movements to that of a man doused in flames.


"Dim through the misty panes and thick green light, As under a green sea, I saw him drowning."

The poet uses vivid visual imagery to convey what the persona is seeing. Through the misty panes of the eye-piece his gas mask and the thick green tint of the gas surrounding them, he sees the struggling man stumbling about like he is drowning under a green sea. The simile 'as under a green sea.' the thick green light around them is compared to a green sea. In the same way the sea is a thick body of water surrounding the person submerged in it, the gas has surrounded them and seems as thick as the water in the ocean.


"In all my dreams before my helpless sight, He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning."

This graphic image seems to haunt the persona, as he speaks about it 'in all [his] dreams.' The persona is helpless, unable to assist this man dying before him. He is guttering (tears streaming down his face, a symptom of inhaling toxic gas), choking and drowning- the poet paints a gloomy, disturbing image that communicates his critical view of war and its casualties.


"If in some smothering dreams, you too could pace Behind the wagon that we flung him in, And watch the white eyes writhing in his face, His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin;"

The poet comes to the final stanza, where he intends to drive home his point. The horrific image illustrated previously leads directly into the gloomy atmosphere created here. They throw the unfortunate man in a wagon, and the poet describes his eyes using a personification: 'eyes writhing in his face.' His eyes are said to be writhing, moving randomly, in the same way a human twists and squirms, contorting their body in pain.

A simile in 'his hanging face like a devil's sick of sin' compares the unnatural appearance of his face to that of a devil horrified of its own evil.


"If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs, Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues—"

The poet continues the description of the horrific state of the man. Blood gargles from his lungs, corrupted by froth from the noxious chemicals. It is described with a brief simile 'obscene as cancer,' comparing the obscenity and fatality of this blood emerging from his lungs to that of cancer. He describes it now with another simile, comparing the blood to the bitter, regurgitated, half-digested material cattle ruminate/chew on. The sores on his tongue are incurable, and he is now victim to this lifelong affliction despite his innocence.


"My friend, you would not tell with such high zest To children ardent for some desperate glory, The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est Pro patria mori."

The poet now concludes with the scathing remark that, if you were able to experience those atrocities, the gruesome corruption of an innocent man's lungs drowning amidst the sea of green noxious gas- you definitely would not tell children the hackneyed maxim "dulce et decorum est Pro patria mori." This line is taken from the Odes (III.2.13) by the Roman poet Horace. The line translates: "It is sweet and fitting to die for the homeland." The poet sees no true glory or anything sweet in such a painful, excruciating death.



Birdshooting Season

Olive Senior

Birdshooting season the men

make marriages with their guns

My father’s house turns macho

as from far the hunters gather


All night long contentless women

stir their brews: hot coffee

chocolata, cerassie

wrap pone and tie-leaf

for tomorrow’s sport. Tonight

the men drink white rum neat.


In darkness shouldering

their packs, their guns, they leave


We stand quietly on the

doorstep shivering. Little boys

longing to grow up birdhunters too

Little girls whispering:

Fly Birds Fly.




Summary

The persona (likely a young girl due to their attention to the details of the women's emotions) describes the beginning of birdshooting season. Men gather from far and wide to the house of the persona's father, influencing an atmosphere of manliness and machismo. The preparations of both the men and the women are described through the eyes of the child. Women prepare tea and coffee for these hunters and make food for them as they set forth on this seasonal exodus, with neither thanks nor acknowledgement. The little boys all dream of becoming birdhunters like their fathers, while the little girls encourage the bids to fly away, as though hoping that they themselves, like the birds will escape the fearsome grasp of the birdhunting men and the resulting cycle. The themes include gender roles, nature and childhood experiences. The mood is reflective.


Analysis

"Birdshooting season the men make marriages with their guns"

The poem begins with the titular phrase 'birdshooting season,' communicating a yearly/seasonal time period during which men go out for shooting birds. The poet uses a combination of alliteration and metaphor in "men make marriages with their guns." The repetition of the deep, manly 'm' sound sets up birdshooting season as a time meant mostly for the enjoyment of men and for them to display their male prowess. The metaphor 'make marriages with their guns' conveys the care and attention they give to their guns, as though actually marrying them. Thus, they prioritize the condition of their guns, doting on them like in marriage- as they are they are the primary tools they need to work in union with for birdshooting.


"My father’s house turns macho as from far the hunters gather"

The persona's father's house 'turns macho' with the influx of several men. To be 'macho' is to be manly in an excessively aggressive or assertive way, so it appears that with the flocking of men from far and wide to one home, their masculinity has built upon one another's, becoming more and more assertive to the point of machismo.


"All night long contentless women stir their brews: hot coffee chocolata, cerassie wrap pone and tie-leaf for tomorrow’s sport. Tonight the men drink white rum neat."

The women are describes here as 'contentless,' meaning they are dissatisfied or unhappy. This is likely due to the fact that they must stay up all night preparing the beverages and food for these men without thanks, only for them to depart for a long period of time to shoot birds. As the men have made marriages with their guns, they have neglected care for their wives and children. The women must stock them up with food and drink year after year without acknowledgement from their husbands. The poem alludes to a slew of traditional Caribbean drinks and foods, and it is said that the men drink 'white rum neat,' meaning white rum undiluted at full strength. This again communicates the assertive machismo of the men, showing off their masculine resistance to strong alcohol.


"In darkness shouldering their packs, their guns, they leave"

The men now leave in the darkness of early morning carrying the guns they so dearly cherish and the packs holding food and drink. There is no mention of acknowledging anyone other than themselves.


"We stand quietly on the doorstep shivering. Little boys longing to grow up birdhunters too Little girls whispering: Fly Birds Fly."

Shivering in the cold morning air, boys seem to idolize the birdhunting men, hoping to become like them in the future. By contrast, the girls hope for the birds to fly away, whispering encouragement for them to escape. This reflects a more empathetic and caring sentiment that is contrary to the aggressive masculinity of the men. This could also be because birdshooting takes their fathers away for a simple sport, and they can see themselves in the birds, being grasped by an endless cycle surrounding a ritual of birdshooting for the enjoyment of men.


My Parents

Stephen Spender


My parents kept me from children who were rough

Who threw words like stones and wore torn clothes

Their thighs showed through rags they ran in the street

And climbed cliffs and stripped by the country streams.


I feared more than tigers their muscles like iron

Their jerking hands and their knees tight on my arms

I feared the salt coarse pointing of those boys

Who copied my lisp behind me on the road.


They were lithe they sprang out behind hedges

Like dogs to bark at my world. They threw mud

While I looked the other way, pretending to smile.

I longed to forgive them but they never smiled.


Summary

In the poem, the persona recalls a childhood where his parents kept him from 'rough' children. His parents hope to protect him from the derision and harassment of these children, which, throughout the poem, is shown to be true. However, it becomes evident that in keeping him from these children (likely of a lower social class than he is), his parents greatly restrict his freedom, and he is jealous of the freedom that these rough children possess. In titling the poem My Parents and then only mentioning his parents once before speaking about bullying, the persona seems to both blame his parents for his lack of freedom and him being the target of the children's abuse. But, he also seems to appreciate their protection, as the rest of the poem essentially proves his parents right. They play in the street and climb cliffs and swim in rivers with no constraint. He feared these children and their abrasive nature; their vituperative words and seemingly insurmountable strength. Even in this fear though, there is an admiration of their strength that far surpasses his own. Nonetheless, they would tease him constantly, mocking his lisp while pointing reproachfully. The persona seems deeply troubled by their endless torment and abuse. He pretends to smile, hoping to inspire some form of peace and fraternity, but to no avail. He always longed to forgive them for their harassment, but is denied when they do not reciprocate any desire for harmony. The persona and the children are of different socioeconomic classes; the children, lower class and the persona, middle-to-upper class. Thus, there is a divide between them, and their mockery of him is suggested to have a separate motivation other than simple childish badinage- they are jealous of his privilege. The persona himself is jealous of the rough children's freedom even though his social class permits him far more privilege than they have. This is the implicit irony of the poem.

The mood of this poem is reflective. The themes include childhood experience, parental influence and social segregation.


Analysis

"My parents kept me from children who were rough"

The persona begins with a somewhat accusatory phrase. His parents restrained him from being near the 'children who were rough' as a preventative measure. They do not want him to be teased and mocked for his disabilities, and the abrasive nature of these children justifies their worry. Describing them as rough instantly creates a contrast between the children and the persona himself, as his parents' effort to keep him from them means that he himself is not like them. The use of the word 'kept' implies that sort of childish resentment that the persona would have felt as a child, wanting to experience the same freedom as these children but held back nonetheless.


"Who threw words like stones and wore torn clothes

Their thighs showed through rags they ran in the street

And climbed cliffs and stripped by the country streams."

The rough children are said to throw 'words like stones.' This simile gives the reader insight into the character and behaviour of these children, as their use of words is compared to the destructive act of throwing stones. Their words, therefore, are used with the intention to harm emotionally in the same way stones are thrown with the intention of causing physical destruction. The sharp, monosyllabic language used in the simile communicates a harsh use of words without etiquette characteristic of the lower class.

The children wear torn clothes, another indicator of their less than fortunate status. Despite this suboptimal economic status, the children are able to explore and play uninhibited. They run in the street, climb cliffs and swim in streams; all things that our dear persona could never dream of doing. His overprotective parents keep him from both these children and their carefree, unrestricted lifestyle. He is envious of them, and wishes to enjoy the same wonders of freedom as they do. An alliteration is used here in 'climbed cliffs.' This shows the agility of these children, and sort of portrays them in an animalistic and primitive light in their scaling of natural landscapes. Their thighs are said to show 'through rags,' rags being a symbol of poverty and communicating their poorer status in comparison to the persona.


"I feared more than tigers their muscles like iron

Their jerking hands and their knees tight on my arms"

Using hyperbole, the persona communicates how great his fear was of these boys. Tigers are able rip a human limb from limb with sheer animalistic instinct and power, but he still places his fear of their muscles above that (hence why it is an exaggerated expression). Coupled with the use of simile to compare their muscles to the rigid strength of iron, the persona conveys a very exaggerated fear along with a possible amount of admiration of their strength. Being of a lower working class, they would perform more manual labour and explore more, giving them physical strength far beyond the reach of the persona.

We also see the harassment he is subjected to, as he is pinned to the ground during some sort of fight. He is made the victim of this torment, and it is possibly because of how different he is from them. His superior social status is a likely cause, along with his disability mentioned later on in the poem.


"I feared the salt coarse pointing of those boys

Who copied my lisp behind me on the road."

The persona now states that he feared their 'salt coarse pointing.' This metaphor directly compares their pointing to the coarseness of salt. The use of coarse continues the description of the children as rough, but it also gives a tangibility to the derision of the boys. The persona feels their mockery to be coarse and harsh, inflicting a near-physical abrasion that goes beyond some sort of friendly badinage. By saying salt coarse, it also alludes to a common phrase 'rub salt into the wound.' Although it is a bit of a stretch, their mockery, on top of forcing him into compromising positions in fights, is like rubbing salt into an open wound, as he experiences the emotional fallout as well as the physical.

The boys copy his lisp behind him on the road, showing that his speech impediment is a point which they use to mock him. His disability is therefore one of the things that make him a prime target of these rough children.


"They were lithe they sprang out behind hedges

Like dogs to bark at my world. They threw mud

While I looked the other way, pretending to smile."

The persona continues to describe their incessant harassment of him. They are lithe and agile, and he is not. Using simile, he compares them to dogs, "springing out behind hedges like dogs to bark at my world." Dogs usually bark to threaten intruders or those they think do not belong. In the same way, like animals, the children jump out at him and threaten him and his highly privileged world. Throughout their mud-throwing he would pretend to smile, as though unperturbed by this torment. He hopes to inspire some form of friendliness through this peaceable smiling.


"I longed to forgive them but they never smiled."

Even though he wants to forgive them for the torment they cause him, they never reciprocate this desire, nor do they return a smile. The difference in their social classes causes the children to envy his fortune while he envies their freedom. These strong societal barriers of envy and jealousy create vitriol between them that cannot easily be overcome.



Little Boy Crying

Mervyn Morris

Your mouth contorting in brief spite and hurt,

your laughter metamorphosed into howls,

your frame so recently relaxed now tight

with three year old frustration, your bright eyes

swimming tears, splashing your bare feet,

you stand there angling for a moment’s hint

of guilt or sorrow for the quick slap struck.


The ogre towers above you, that grim giant,

empty of feeling, a colossal cruel,

soon victim of the tale’s conclusion, dead

at last. You hate him, you imagine

chopping clean the tree he’s scrambling down

or plotting deeper pits to trap him in.


You cannot understand, not yet,

the hurt your easy tears can scald him with,

nor guess the wavering hidden behind that mask.

This fierce man longs to lift you, curb your sadness

with piggy-back or bull fight, anything,

but dare not ruin the lessons you should learn.


You must not make a plaything of the rain.


Summary

The poem is narrating an interaction between a father and his son, who he has punished for playing in the rain. The little boy feels somewhat betrayed by his father, and finds no sign of remorse in him. So, he sees him as evil figure, likening him to the evil giant from the fairy tale of Jack and the Beanstalk. The poem accurately shows how the child feels in the moment- a sudden emotion of cold hate and anger towards this 'colossal cruel' who has harmed him. In the third stanza though, the poet introduces the perspective of the father, who evidently cares for his son. Through the child's eyes, he is painted in a light of supreme cruelty and callousness due to emotionally-caused exaggeration. The father is shown to be caring because he feels guilt and remorse when he sees the tears of his son. But the dilemma within is obvious- he doesn't enjoy making his son feel this way, but he must teach him this lesson. He wants to comfort him and show his care; but he knows that he must maintain his composure in order for his son to truly learn the lesson.

The poem is written from a third person omniscient perspective. The themes are parenting, vulnerability and childhood experiences. The mood is tense.


Analysis

"Your mouth contorting in brief spite and hurt,"

This line begins to show the little boy starting to cry. His mouth twists (as shown with 'contorting'), showing not only his pain (emotional and physical) but also an attempt to spite (deliberately annoy) his father.


"your laughter metamorphosed into howls,"

Contrast is introduced here, where the laughter of the child (happiness) metamorphoses (an example of diction by the poet) into howls of pain and hurt. To metamorphose means to change completely in form or nature- so, in the same way his laughter changes to howls, his happiness changes to despair and pain.


"your frame so recently relaxed now tight with three year old frustration"

The poet continues to show contrast between his previous disposition and now- when his frame has tightened as he contracts in beginning to cry. His frame tight with 'three year old frustration,' which is sort of ironic considering that, being 3 years old, he would have very little to be frustrated about, and the harsher more oppressive concept of frustration clashes with the small non-threatening nature of a 3 year old.


"your bright eyes swimming tears, splashing your bare feet,"

This is an example of hyperbole, where the poet suggests that the child's eyes are 'swimming tears' that splash his feet. Obviously a human's eyes can't produce enough tears to literally splash upon their feet- but the poet uses this device to show the exaggerated crying of the child. The phrase 'eyes swimming tears' suggests that the child's eyes are completely submerged in tears.


"you stand there angling for a moment’s hint of guilt or sorrow for the quick slap struck."

Now the boy searches for any sign of remorse, empathy or guilt in this unnamed person who has hit him. Alliteration (slap struck) is used along with monosyllabic language ('quick slap struck,' each word is one syllable to convey the speed of the slap).


"The ogre towers above you, that grim giant, empty of feeling, a colossal cruel, soon victim of the tale’s conclusion, dead at last."

In this stanza, the little boy is now likening the evil of this unnamed person the best way he can- using fairly tales and mystical fictional evils. Using a metaphor, he refers to this person as an ogre towering over him. Using alliteration, the boy calls this person a 'grim giant' who is cold and unfeeling, and a 'colossal cruel.' This is, of course, a caricatured/exaggerated description of this man by a teary-eyed and hurt child. He is so angered and frustrated in this moment that he compares his abuser to a giant, an allusion to the fairy tale Jack and the Beanstalk ('...that grim giant') and hopes for him to eventually end up just like the giant at the end of the fairy tale- dead.


"You hate him, you imagine chopping clean the tree he’s scrambling down or plotting deeper pits to trap him in."

The boy continues with sentiments exaggerated by momentary pain, frustration and anger. The boy is said to hate this man, and imagines for him the same defeat as the giant in the tale- chopping down the stalk he climbs down. These plots correspond to the child's feelings of sadness and anger, he wants to defeat this person who has harmed him.


"You cannot understand, not yet, the hurt your easy tears can scald him with,"

The speaker now considers the perspective of the father. The child doesn't understand yet what happens beyond the steely exterior of his father. He doesn't know that his tears really do harm him, and that he does truly feel remorse for hurting his son. The boy cries endlessly and without restraint or difficulty, but he doesn't know that his father feels these tears and they 'scald him' like acid or hot oil.


"nor guess the wavering hidden behind that mask."

Adding to the list of things the boy doesn't understand, he cannot guess the conflict within his father that is hidden by an unfaltering facade. He doesn't want to hurt his son, but he cannot show the hesitation.


"This fierce man longs to lift you, curb your sadness with piggy-back or bull fight, anything, but dare not ruin the lessons you should learn."

The poet uses contrast again here, juxtaposing the description of this man as 'fierce' with the description of this man as a vulnerable, loving, empathetic one who wants to curb the boy's sadness. The father sees his son crying, and his natural reaction is to want to comfort him- but he cannot, in order to ensure that he learns the lesson.


"You must not make a plaything of the rain."

This final line conveys what was likely the reason for the father punishing the child, he was playing in the rain.



God’s Grandeur

Gerard Manley-Hopkins


The world is charged with the grandeur of God.

It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;

It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil

Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?

Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;

And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;

And wears man's smudge and shares man's smell: the soil

Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.


And for all this, nature is never spent;

There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;

And though the last lights off the black West went

Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs —

Because the Holy Ghost over the bent

World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings

Summary

In this poem, the persona is adulating the incredible power of God. He compares the glory of the Lord to an electric charge present in all things- a fulminant power uncontainable and endlessly great. However, the persona questions the actions of mankind in their insatiable search for self-gain and exploitation of the natural world. He wonders why mankind does not heed the warning of and defer to the immense power of the Lord, but rather leaves a permanent deleterious mark on the surrounding world. Even in this questioning of the deplorable acts of humanity against the world, he realizes that the ever-present innate freshness in all things continues to live on. Nature is never completely depleted by humanity's ruthless exploitation of it. Even though the sun sets on one day, the sun rises yet again for the triumphant beginning of another, simply because the Holy Ghost, like a mother bird tending to her young, nurtures it without fail.

You may notice that this poem is similar to Sonnet Composed upon Westminister Bridge, September 3, 1802 by William Wordsworth. They both speak about the wonder and beauty of nature. (And they are both Italian Sonnets)

The theme of this poem is a sort of glorification of God- that is, Hopkins intends to adulate the grandeur of God and his unshakeable infusion in nature. The theme also incorporates man vs nature or man's destruction of nature. The tone is reverent overall, but shifts between disgust and hope at some points.


Analysis

"The world is charged with the grandeur of God."

The persona here states that the world is 'charged' with God's grandeur. The use of the word 'charged' here relates God's grandeur specifically to electricity, which is well-known to give things electrical charges. The comparison of electromotive force with God's grandeur implies that everything is inherently imbued with it, as though filled with electricity. It is possible that the poet intends to indicate how just like how electric power drives machinery and circuits, the world is powered by the glory of the Lord. The word charged could have a second additional meaning intended by the poet. Charge can also mean to entrust someone with a responsibility- so it could be interpreted in the context to mean that not only has the world been infused with this electrical potential energy, but the world has also been entrusted with the responsibility of the grandeur of God, in terms of ensuring that the glory of God is upheld and lauded.


"It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;"

The poet continues with an extended metaphor comparing God's grandeur to electricity here. He goes on to state that the charge imbued by the grandeur of God will fulminate to such an intensity that it flames out in a flashing like the reflection from the multiple facets of a sheet of foil when shook. This vivid visual imagery gives the reader the impression of a surge of awe-inspiring intense light.

This line also incorporates the use of an alliteration with "shining... shook." This gives a texture to the language used here, alluding to the sound of foil when shaken.


"It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil"

The grandeur of God is now given a oil-like quality, gathering 'to a greatness.' The simile used here compares the presence of God to how the true essence and greatness of the seed of a fruit is only realized when crushed for its oil/essence.


"Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?"

This line continues from the last line, where the phrase was broken except for the last word to give the impression of urgency and an abrupt pause using a single syllable to remind the remind the reader of the stark and puzzling nature of the question about to be asked.

The persona now questions why mankind does not 'reck his rod.' The word reck is an archaic verb meaning to mind or pay heed to something. Think of the word 'reckless,' which basically means without minding/heeding warning or being careful. Coupled with the use of the word 'rod,' somewhat of a metonym for God and his authority, we can understand this line to be a question of why humanity does not defer to the divine authority of God. Given that the grandeur of God is so omnipresent and inherent within the word, he ponders why humanity would debase the natural world rather than heeding to God's unshakeable power (his rod).

Two alliterations are also used here, with the repetition of the 'n' sound in "now not" and the 'r' sound in "reck his rod." This monosyllabic language again conveys the stark and grave nature of this question.


"Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;"

This line serves to show how over years of humanity's dominion, they have trampled constantly over the earth. The poet utilizes the literary device of repetition to give the impression of interminability, incessance and perpetuality (a bunch of fancy words for endlessness). This shows how generations of humans have walked upon the earth with blatant disregard for God's authority. Not only does it convey this concept, but it also acts as an effective connector between lines 4 and 6, the former questioning why man ignores God's grandeur, and the latter presenting the deleterious effects of man's obsession with commerce and self-gain. Hence, this line gives a time period for the line it precedes.


"And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;"

This line shows how the profit-centered, industrialist behaviour of mankind has so terribly affected and despoiled nature. The poet uses internal rhyme here, repeating that '-eared' syllable throughout the line. The earth and nature have been sullied by the selfish toil of humanity.


"And wears man's smudge and shares man's smell: the soil Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod."

Here, the persona continues with a tone of disgust in remarking how all of the world now has been smudged and stained by mankind. It suggests that mankind cannot help but leave their own stench and damage the natural world with industry and economic pursuits.

The soil, the persona says, is now devoid of natural life- but humanity is even incapable of feeling this connection to the earth due to their feet being covered by shoes.


"And for all this, nature is never spent;"

This could be considered the volta or turning point of the poem. The persona states that despite the constant destruction of nature by humanity in their egotistic pursuits, nature itself is never depleted completely or 'spent.' Despite humanity's ceaseless attempts to undermine nature and tarnish it, it will not be destroyed- it always replenishes itself.

There is an alliteration used here, with "nature is never."


"There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;"

The persona continues with this tone of hope, by saying that the 'dearest freshness' lives on deep within all things. This shows that even though nature is trampled upon in humanity's labouring for self-gain, this dear freshness- a reinvigorating, refreshing and inspiriting influence- remains inherent within nature. This completely opposite influence to humanity Hopkins relates as an innate spiritual energy that excites all things.

There is another alliteration here with "deep down" things.


"And though the last lights off the black West went Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs —"

The persona here continues to highlight the replenishing quality of nature. He notes that even though the sun fades into darkness, setting in the west upon the completion of one day, morning springs forward again as the sun rises in the east for the beginning of another day. He lauds this constant cycle of regeneration that happens irrespective of humanity's actions, showing his confidence in the longevity and infinite regenerative ability of nature.


"Because the Holy Ghost over the bent World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings."

The persona now compares the Holy Ghost to a bird brooding and nurturing her egg. Thus, the Holy Ghost is a bird-like protector who guards this 'bent world' in its protective care.


A Stone's Throw

Elma Mitchell

We shouted out

'We've got her! Here she is!

It's her all right '.

We caught her.

There she was -


A decent-looking woman, you'd have said,

(They often are)

Beautiful, but dead scared,

Tousled - we roughed her up

A little, nothing much


And not the first time

By any means

She'd felt men's hands

Greedy over her body -

But ours were virtuous,

Of course.


And if our fingers bruised

Her shuddering skin,

These were love-bites, compared

To the hail of kisses of stone,

The last assault

And battery, frigid rape,

To come

Of right.


For justice must be done

Specially when

It tastes so good.


And then - this guru,

Preacher, God-merchant, God-knows-what -

Spoilt the whole thing,

Speaking to her

(Should never speak to them)

Squatting on the ground - her level,

Writing in the dust

Something we couldn't read.

And saw in her

Something we couldn't see

At least until

He turned his eyes on us,

Her eyes on us,

Our eyes upon ourselves.


We walked away

Still holding stones

That we may throw

Another day

Given the urge.


Summary

The poem alludes to the story of Mary Magdalene in the Bible (John 8:3-11), highlighting themes of religion, violence, sexism and hypocrisy. The persona is addressing some sort of unknown audience who he either wants to convince or shares his point of view. He appears to be a misogynist, objectifying the woman who is the subject of the poem and the victim of the abuse of the persona. The persona stereotypes the woman as a harlot, and considers his assault of the woman to be righteous as a result. The recounting of this tale of violence by the persona is laced with glee, self-righteousness and sexual overtones. As the members of the village 'rough her up,' the persona notes callously that she had felt men's hands greedy over her body before. There is a sense of irony throughout the poem due to the assertion of the persona that they, assaulting this woman are more virtuous than the woman herself or any man with whom she had been with. However, as the persona and presumably a group of others in the village (as suggested by the use of 'we') prepare to exact 'justice' upon this woman through stoning her to death, a guru/preacher (Jesus) 'spoils their fun' by speaking to the woman. He sees a sort of humanity within the woman which the persona cannot and judges them, letting the woman judge them, and therefore triggering introspection in the surrounding crowd. They now leave, still holding stones- and their judgements against her- which they hope to throw another day given the urge.

The tone of the poem is nonchalant, callous and condescending. The mood is violent.


Analysis

"We shouted out, 'We've got her! Here she is! It's her all right '. We caught her."

The persona begins with the use of the pronoun 'we' to show that he was accompanied by at least one other person. This could be in an attempt to share accountability, but it is more likely a display of the involvement of multiple pursuers in search of this woman. The subsequent lines are punctuated with exclamation points to show their excitement. 'We've got her' shows a triumphant conquering of this woman who has apparently evaded them for a while. 'Here she is' gives the impression of exhibiting her for all to see, like a trophy or an elusive animal. 'It's her all right' and 'we caught her' echo that triumph in capturing the woman.


"A decent-looking woman, you'd have said, (They often are)"

The persona evidently sees the woman as physically attractive, but uses the phrase 'you'd have said' to somewhat distance himself from admitting to the idea of finding her attractive. He continues to say 'they often are' showing that he simply classifies her as part of a group rather than as an individual. She is made to be only a stereotype.


"Beautiful, but dead scared,"

The persona again reaffirms the fact that the woman looks beautiful even though she is obviously deathly afraid.


"Tousled - we roughed her up A little, nothing much"

The word tousled here suggests that her clothing is slightly ruffled or her hair is disheveled, as though playing around. The persona goes on to say that they 'roughed her up a little, nothing much', a euphemism, insinuating that they didn't use any excessive force in capturing her. His version of the tale is obviously a lie.


"And not the first time By any means She'd felt men's hands Greedy over her body - "

These lines show that the men took the opportunity to let their hands roam around the woman's body. The persona makes a point of expressing that it wasn't the first time something like this would have happened to her, so it wasn't out of the ordinary. This also insinuates that she was a prostitute or a adulteress given to such promiscuity. The use of the word 'greedy' suggests a violent ravaging of the woman's body by these men who hope to sate a hunger by molesting this scared woman. They likely had long wanted to do so, but had neither the audacity nor the opportunity before.


"But ours were virtuous, Of course."

The persona here tries to make it seem as though they are virtuous in probing her body with their hands; as if they are above reproach for doing so. He tries to distance himself from those men with whom she fornicates. This is irony in that the persona suggests that he and those with him are 'virtuous' in fondling this woman's body, although they are doing the same thing as those she 'sins' with. Hence, his obdurate assertion of self-righteousness is ironic, since he is no different from those he tries to separate himself from.


"And if our fingers bruised Her shuddering skin, These were love-bites, compared To the hail of kisses of stone,"

The persona uses 'if' here in an attempt to mitigate their cruelty. It is obvious that they did bruise her skin, which is described as shuddering due to her fear. The persona introduces more erotic overtones by comparing these bruises to 'love-bites' like a bite made during intercourse meant to be pleasurable and painful simultaneously. He attempts to palliate (mitigate) their maltreatment of the woman by saying that there was far worse in store for her- particularly what is expressed in the speaker's euphemism for being stoned, 'the hail of kisses of stone.' By saying that the hail of stone would be like kisses, he introduces the idea that this violent execution of 'justice' would be pleasurable.


"The last assault and battery, frigid rape, to come of right."

The persona mentions the final punishment- like the final dish of a meal (assault and battery)- to be given to the woman- 'frigid rape.' This is an oxymoron because the speaker is inferring that the woman will be sexually assaulted, but not penetrated as in an actual rape. The phrase expresses the inability to consummate the physical act of a sexual assault, as it will be her corpse being violated. This is 'justice' to the persona as it correlates to how he thinks the woman lived her life- an object for the sheer use and disposal of men.


"For justice must be done specially when it tastes so good."

It is made evident by this line exactly how self-righteous the persona really is, because it isn't made clear in the poem exactly whose justice is being executed. These lines, then, clarify that this is simply providing pleasure for the persona, who neither values the life of the woman nor the idea of true justice. After all, whose laws did the woman break? What authority have they to deliver punishment? And most of all, is anything done here even close to justice? This extrajudicial punishment is clearly just enjoyable for the persona as shown by the line "...it tastes so good." They relish in the brutal assault and violation of this woman. This delight in her misfortune or Schadenfreude, continues this metaphor of a meal to sate the appetites of these power-hungry, misogynistic miscreants.


"And then - this guru, Preacher, God-merchant, God-knows-what -Spoilt the whole thing,"

The persona's tone takes a turn for the contemptuous as his masochistic euphoria is interrupted. He spits out several names to label the man by, and it is obvious that he is greatly upset by this man's intervening. He calls him a guru, as he is well-versed in matters pertaining to God or philosophy and the gospel; a God-merchant, implying the man's trade in things relating to God. The poet skilfully incorporates the use of the phrase 'God-knows-what,' as it denotes the persona's frustration with this man and his inability to confine him to a single category; but, it also indicates the fact that God does know the identity of this man even if no one in the crowd does (Jesus).


"Speaking to her (Should never speak to them) Squatting on the ground - her level,"

The man speaks to the woman who they want to persecute- something the persona considers taboo due to how he discriminates against this woman, stigmatizing her as a prostitute/adulteress undeserving of any human decency. The man literally comes between the mob and the woman, putting himself in harm's way.

The intervening man stoops to the ground, at the same level as the woman. This essentially shows that he is not critical of the woman; he doesn't consider himself morally or socially superior to her for any reason. Unlike the crowd, he sees her as a human being and not an object of immorality and ridicule. The way that the persona says 'her level' gives the impression of disgust and prejudice.


"Writing in the dust Something we couldn't read."

This line, where the man is said to write something that the mob couldn't read, has several possible connotations. What he wrote could either be a foreign language or it could be simply illegible. However, he could have intended to show the crowd that they lacked discernment in their condemnation/persecution of another human being by writing in the dust.


"And saw in her something we couldn't see at least until he turned his eyes on us, her eyes on us, our eyes upon ourselves."

The man sees something in the woman that the persona and the mob could not see in her. However, it became obvious once the man looked at the crowd, and the woman looked at them as well. In turn, they began to look at themselves. In an attempt to persecute this woman, they themselves had operated with no moral compass. They had descended to such a level where nothing morally right had been achieved. No words were said, but the crowd understood.


"We walked away still holding stones that we may throw another day given the urge."

The crowd leaves, feeling dejected and unable to satisfy their craving for brutality and violence. However, they still have their stones in hand- showing that the insight given by the man would not be permanently incorporated into the minds of the crowd. The precepts of true justice- rationality, truth and fairness- has never been and will never be a part of the crowd's purpose. They have no intention of changing. They will do the same again 'given the urge.'



The entire poem, is of course an allusion:

The poet has used the concept of intertextuality in crafting her poem from an original story taken from the Gospel of Jon 8: 3-11. In the Bible story a woman is accused of adultery and is brought before Jesus because according to Mosaic Law, she should be stoned to death. Jesus states the famous lines, “He that is without sin among you, let him cast the first stone at her.” Her accusers scatter. Jesus tells the woman he does not condemn her and to go and refrain from sinning.


It is the Constant Image of Your Face

Dennis Brutus

It is the constant image of your face

framed in my hands as you knelt before my chair

the grave attention of your eyes

surveying me amid my world of knives

that stays with me, perennially accuses

and convicts me of heart’s-treachery;

and neither you nor I can plead excuses

for you, you know, can claim no loyalty –

my land takes precedence of all my loves.


Yet I beg mitigation, pleading guilty

for you, my dear, accomplice of my heart

made, without words, such blackmail with your beauty

and proffered me such dear protectiveness

that I confess without remorse or shame,

my still-fresh treason to my country

and I hope that she, my other, dearest love

will pardon freely, not attaching blame

being your mistress (or your match) in tenderness.


Summary

The persona seems to be a statesman (or some sort of stakeholder or representative of his country) who is accused of heartbreak by his lover. It appears that there was an event in the past where he was unfaithful- seemingly to his lover. However, there can be no excuse for either of them, he believes, since loyalty to one's country supersedes all else. He can claim no loyalty to her, but neither can she to him, as the persona considers his country to be above all of his other loves. Now however, he pleads for forgiveness of some sort, confessing freely his denial of his own country. His lover, the 'accomplice of his heart' in denying his country, has treated him with such tender love that he cannot simply ignore it. He hopes that his country will be able to forgive him. As he now compares the love he holds for his lover and his land, he reveals his own confusion. He loves his land and this woman. One, he believes should take precedence above all others, and the other, has conspired with his heart to siphon some of his affection for the other. He cannot discern which one is more dear to his heart, which one is more tender.

The tone of this poem is remorseful and wistful. The mood is solemn and sad, with a sense of guilt. The themes of the poem include patriotism, divided loyalties and romantic love vs love of one's country.


Analysis

"It is the constant image of your face, framed in my hands as you knelt before my chair the grave attention of your eyes surveying me amid my world of knives"

The image of his lover's face remains ceaselessly in his mind. He holds her face in his hands as she kneels before him. Her eyes inspect him gravely. This gives the impression of anguish and deep emotion. The phrase 'world of knives' conveys the idea that the persona is surrounded by a world of brutality, or even an internal conflict.


"that stays with me, perennially accuses and convicts me of heart’s-treachery;"

This image seems to haunt him, permanently embedded into his mind. It accuses and convicts him of 'heart's-treachery." What he saw in the attentive eyes of his lover stayed with him and caused a great deal of emotional pain. The use of the word 'convicts' gives the impression of a direct encumbering of guilt upon the persona. 'Heart's treachery' here, evidently meaning heartbreak, is an oxymoron, considering that the heart is a symbol of love and compassion, completely contrasted by the concept of treachery and betrayal.


"and neither you nor I can plead excuses for you, you know, can claim no loyalty – my land takes precedence of all my loves."

Neither the persona nor his lover can 'plead excuses' for his apparent infidelity. They can't claim loyalty to each other, as the persona believes unequivocally that loyalty to his country should be above all other perceived loves. Thus , he feels unbound to her due to how he prioritizes patriotism.


"Yet I beg mitigation, pleading guilty for you, my dear, accomplice of my heart made, without words, such blackmail with your beauty and proffered me such dear protectiveness, that I confess without remorse or shame, my still-fresh treason to my country"

Now, the persona is begging acquittal for his seeming perfidy. He admits his wrongdoing. His lover is the 'accomplice of his heart,' a person who has conspired with him to take some of his affection for his country. He sort of introduces the idea that they both share culpability for betraying his greater love. Wordlessly, she blackmails him with her beauty, forcing him to become a backsliding lover when it comes to his country. Her love, protective and tender, has caused him to confess freely the way he now seems to have given his love to another, apart from his precedent love (his country). He considers this treason, a betrayal of the love he thinks should be above all else.


"and I hope that she, my other, dearest love will pardon freely, not attaching blame being your mistress (or your match) in tenderness."

The persona hopes against hope that his country will be able to pardon him for this. The final line reveals more of his confusion, as cannot discern which one is more dear and tender to him.


Dreaming Black Boy

James Berry

I wish my teacher’s eyes wouldn’t

go past me today. Wish he’d know

it’s okay to hug me when I kick

a goal. Wish I myself wouldn’t hold back when answer comes.

I’m no woodchopper now

like all ancestors.


I wish I could be educated

to the best of tune up, and earn

good money and not sink to lick

boots. I wish I could go on every

crisscross way of the globe

and no persons or powers or

hotel keepers would make it a waste.


I wish life wouldn’t spend me out

opposing. Wish same way creation

would have me stand it would have

me stretch, and hold high, my voice

Paul Robeson’s, my inside eye

a sun. Nobody wants to say

hello to nasty answers.


I wish torch throwers of night

would burn lights for decent times.

Wish plotters in pyjamas would pray

for themselves. Wish people wouldn’t

talk as if I dropped from Mars.


I wish only boys were scared

behind bravados, for I could suffer.

I could suffer a big big lot.

I wish nobody would want to earn

the terrible burden I can suffer.


Summary

The persona is a young black male wishing for things he should have already been guaranteed for being a human. He has suffered great racial discrimination throughout his life, and this has affected him to the point where he isn't as bold as he should be. He knows that he is different from his enslaved ancestors, but he feels still trapped by the prejudice he has to bear. He wants to travel the world and be educated, rather than having to do demeaning jobs to get by. He wishes to be like the revolutionary Paul Robeson, whom he idolizes. This boy has suffered through seeing members of the Ku Klux Klan discriminating against and lynching black people like him, and he hopes that no one else has to bear this terrible burden he does. The speaker’s tone is one of wistfulness, subdued optimism, restrained anger, sadness and despair. Like the attitude of the black boy, the atmosphere of the poem is one of despair, sadness and deep suffering.

Analysis


"I wish my teacher’s eyes wouldn’t go past me today. Wish he’d know it’s okay to hug me when I kick a goal."

This boy is ignored by his teacher, evidently due to his race. He wants to be recognized for his achievements in the same way the other students in his class are, but his teacher does not acknowledge him.


"Wish I myself wouldn’t hold back when answer comes. I’m no woodchopper now like all ancestors."

The persona confirms how he feels-voiceless and powerless. He holds back even when he knows the answer, showing that his confidence has been undermined due to constant prejudice. He knows that it doesn't make sense for him to not be bold, as, unlike his ancestors, he is free.


"I wish I could be educated to the best of tune up"

The boy wants to receive the best possible education. He uses a metaphor here to compare education to 'tune up,' as in how a car is well-serviced (or tuned) or how an instrument has been tuned to play the perfect notes.


"and earn good money and not sink to lick boots."

He doesn't want to become the stereotype of that era, of blacks only being meant for menial tasks. He is able to think critically, and he hopes not to be relegated to being a proverbial 'hewer of wood and drawer of water,' or spit shoe-shiner. He doesn't want to simply be subservient and servile in order to get by.


"I wish I could go on every crisscross way of the globe and no persons or powers or hotel keepers would make it a waste."

He wishes to travel the globe without the restraints of discrimination. He longs for unrestricted access to places where people and institutions do not discriminate against him because his skin is black.


"I wish life wouldn’t spend me out opposing."

In this personification, 'life' is said to spend the boy out, as in exhaust him completely. He doesn't want to spend his whole life on the defensive, constantly having to fight against discrimination and assault.


"Wish same way creation would have me stand it would have me stretch, and hold high, my voice Paul Robeson’s, my inside eye a sun."

He personifies creation here to be a sort of entity that controls his life. He wants 'creation,' in the same way it gave him the ability to withstand prejudice, it would give him the ability to grow internally, to have dignity- to 'stretch' beyond the limits society has defined for him. The persona dreams of having Paul Robeson’s voice as his own. This alludes to Paul Robeson, an African American icon known for his deep, distinctive voice. He was a Renaissance Man who epitomized black manhood as a star athlete singer, actor, lawyer, and human right activist. He wants to be like Robeson, and be as influential as him as well.

He wants his 'inside eye' to be a 'sun,' meaning that he wants his spirit and brilliance to be a light that all people can see.

"Nobody wants to say hello to nasty answers."

This line seems sort of out of place, but it shows the persona's realization that being exceptional is meaningless if people continue to be repulsed by him.


"I wish torch throwers of night would burn lights for decent times. Wish plotters in pyjamas would pray for themselves."

These lines allude to the Ku Klux Klan, a group of white supremacists who would lynch and torment black people. They did this under the guise of religion. The persona is highlighting their hypocrisy, as they hurt others, instead of praying for their own salvation at night.


"Wish people wouldn’t talk as if I dropped from Mars."

The persona wishes that his differences wouldn't be highlighted to seem as though he doesn't belong on this planet. He feels ostracized, as though he doesn't have the same permission to live in society- like he was born on Mars.


"I wish only boys were scared behind bravados, for I could suffer. I could suffer a big big lot. I wish nobody would want to earn the terrible burden I can suffer."

The persona wishes that only children were scared behind pretenses of valor- but he knows that even though adults display brave facades to the world, they are equally as scared. So, they are just as afraid and unable to oppose, and he cannot look to them for protection from the forces that plague him.

The word ‘suffer’ is repeated three times in this final stanza. Being a black boy is apparently synonymous with being afraid and suffering. He wishes that with adulthood things would change, but from what he has seen, he knows that is not true. He hopes that no one else will have to suffer through what he must suffer through because of the colour of their skin.


*'Wish' is repeated 12 times throughout the poem to reinforce the persona's mood of longing.


The Woman Speaks to the Man who has Employed her Son

Lorna Goodison

Her son was first made known to her

as a sense of unease, a need to cry

for little reasons and a metallic tide

rising in her mouth each morning.

Such signs made her know

That she was not alone in her body.

She carried him full term

tight up under her heart.


She carried him like the poor

carry hope, hope you get a break

or a visa, hope one child go through

and remember you. He had no father.

The man she made him with had more

like him, he was fair-minded

he treated all his children

with equal and unbiased indifference.


She raise him twice, once as mother

Then as father, set no ceiling

On what he could be doctor,

earth healer, pilot take wings.

But now he tells her he is working

for you, that you value him so much

you give him one whole submachine

gun for him alone.

He says you are like a father to him

she is wondering what kind of father

would give a son hot and exploding

death, when he asks him for bread.

She went downtown and bought three

and one-third yards of black cloth

and a deep crowned and veiled hat

for the day he draw his bloody salary.


She has no power over you and this

at the level of earth, what she has

are prayers and a mother’s tears

and at knee city she uses them.

She says psalms for him

she reads psalms for you

she weeps for his soul

her eyewater covers you.


She is throwing a partner

with Judas Iscariot’s mother

the thief on the left-hand side

of the cross, his mother

is the banker, her draw though

is first and last for she still

throwing two hands as mother and

father.

She is prepared, she is done.

Absalom.


Summary

In this poem, the persona seems to be addressing a man who has taken a woman's son into a life of crime and gun violence. The history of the woman's relationship with her son is recounted and the love she felt for him even before his birth. She first knew she was pregnant due to morning sickness- showing that this pregnancy was not necessarily planned. This son had no father, so the mother played both roles in his upbringing. She saw his potential as endless, he could become anything. However, she is the told that he has been employed by a man who 'values' him so much that he gives him his own submachine gun. The son for whom she had great hope for had now been inducted into a life of crime that would ultimately cut his life short. She prepares for the funeral of her son, which she believes will happen sooner rather than later because of what he has become involved in. She compares this feeling of betrayal and misfortune to 'throwing a partner' (or sou sou agreement) with notably untrustworthy people and drawing the first and last hand.


"Her son was first made known to her as a sense of unease, a need to cry for little reasons and a metallic tide rising in her mouth each morning."

This gives some sort of exposition for the life of the woman. It says that 'her son was first made known to her' through morning sickness, discomfort and emotional hypersensitivity showing that this pregnancy was a surprise and therefore completely unplanned. Chances are that she was irresponsible, and did not use contraceptives.


"Such signs made her know that she was not alone in her body."

This continues to give the impression of a somewhat naive and irresponsible mother who relies on 'signs' to confirm her pregnancy rather than having planned or being aware enough to know. The line saying "she was not alone in her body" implies that she was being taken over by some unknown being and had no choice but to accept this new presence.


"She carried him full term tight up under her heart."

The mother makes no attempt to abort the baby and carries him for the full nine months. The phrase 'tight up under her heart' shows that she loved and deeply cared for the unborn son.


"She carried him like the poor carry hope, hope you get a break or a visa, hope one child go through and remember you."

This simile compares how she carried the child to how those in poverty carry their hope. This shows that the mother likely saw the son as a potential ticket out of poverty- a child that may secure that elusive visa and get an opportunity to work abroad, and, remembering his mother, send remittances to her. Hope is repeated 3 times here, almost as if to show that where there is a paucity (lack) of money, there is an excess of hope.


"He had no father. The man she made him with had more like him, he was fair-minded he treated all his children with equal and unbiased indifference."

This line boldly states the lack of a father figure in the child's life. The man who had biologically fathered the child had no intention of caring for him. The subsequent line, which states 'the man she made him with,' gives an impression that the creation of the child was a mechanical, routine process, that, much like the biological father's regard for his child, was devoid of emotion or real care. There was a paternal gamete supplier, but no father.

The speaker goes on in sarcastically referring to the man as 'fair-minded,' due to his indiscriminate disregard for his children. These lines would be somewhat comical, had they not been given with such venomous indictment of the prevalence of parental truancy. He has several children, but makes no attempt to support any of them emotionally or financially.


"She raise him twice, once as mother then as father,"

This line continues to show the impact of the absence of the father- the mother takes the role of both mother and father. She makes every effort to be supportive to this son of whom she expects so much.


"set no ceiling on what he could be doctor, earth healer, pilot take wings."

This continues to establish the high expectations held by the mother. She believes his potential is limitless- he could become anything in the world.


"But now he tells her he is working for you, that you value him so much you give him one whole submachine gun for him alone."

This is the volta or turning point of the poem. Up to this point, the hopes of the mother have been built up and her love and care for her son has been displayed. Her hopes are completely dashed now though, when he tells her that he has been recruited by a gunman. The persona now completely doubles down on the tone of anger/resigned sadness that was underscored previously in the mentions of paternal absenteeism.

This line is a good example of irony. The mother is told that this gunman values her son so much that he gives him his own submachine gun. This is ironic because the son feels this false sense of pride because he is put in charge of this gun. He feels that he is held in a high esteem by the gunman because he is given the responsibility of a terrible weapon that can only cause destruction to himself and his community.



"He says you are like a father to him she is wondering what kind of father would give a son hot and exploding death, when he asks him for bread."

The son, having had no father figure while growing up due to an indifferent father, now views this gunman as his father figure. The mother questions his idolization of this donor of guns using a biblical allusion to Matthew 7:9, which states, "Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone?" (a similar verse is at Luke 11:11). The son's penury has led him to seek material goods, so why would this "father figure" offer him a weapon of certain death? The woman accuses the man of being purely wicked and having no regard for her son's wellbeing.


"She went downtown and bought three and one-third yards of black cloth and a deep crowned and veiled hat for the day he draw his bloody salary."

The mother is completely convinced that this induction into gun violence will inevitably get him killed. In melancholic resignation, she prepares for his funeral by purchasing a hat and the material for a dress. She knows that he will eventually draw his 'bloody salary,' i.e. he will reap the rewards of violence- death.


"She has no power over you and this at the level of earth, what she has are prayers and a mother’s tears and at knee city she uses them."

The mother knows that she cannot physically combat the gunman, but, being religious, she believes that she can implore the spiritual, righteous power of God. Faith is the only strength she can possibly use to fight him. She uses her tears, a manifestation of her grief and sadness for her son and a symbol of condemnation of the man who has given her reason to cry, at "knee city." This is a sort of Jamaican term that refers to long sessions of prayer, kneeling. So, the mother prays for her son and implores the intrinsic power of her motherly tears.


"She says psalms for him, she reads psalms for you, she weeps for his soul, her eyewater covers you."

The mother continues her spiritual warfare with this man who has recruited her son. She says psalms for her son- hoping to shield and protect him. However, she reads psalms for the man, (reading psalms for someone often means to hope for bad things to befall your enemies) hoping to injure and inhibit him.

Her tears continue to flow for her son as she implores the forces of heaven.


"She is throwing a partner with Judas Iscariot’s mother the thief on the left-hand side of the cross, his mother is the banker, her draw though is first and last for she still throwing two hands as mother and father."

This stanza is rife with biblical allusions. She is engaged in a savings agreement (called a partner in Jamaica, a meeting in Barbados or a sou sou in other Caribbean islands) with Judas Iscariot's mother (the mother of the well-known betrayer of Jesus) and the thief who was crucified with Jesus. The thief's mother is the banker, who keeps the money- meaning that she may have her money stolen if the thief learnt it from his mother. These women seem to belong to a club of mothers of 'infamous offspring,' reinforcing the point that even people who have done some of the most ignominious acts in human history have mothers.

The fact that she must hold a savings agreement with these mothers of notorious biblical men doesn't bode well for her, as a partner agreement requires trust and honour among the members. The persona says the mother has two ‘draws’ (payments) coming from the ‘partner’ because she has borne the responsibility of both parental roles. being both mother and father to the boy. She has the first and last payments- the last being particularly risky in a partner since dishonesty begins to influence the participants the longer they wait to draw. Similarly, she had the first draw and brought him into the world and she will be there when his life comes to an end, taking the last draw.


"She is prepared, she is done. Absalom."

The mother has prepared herself for the inevitable passing of her son due to his involvement in this criminal activity. She has bought her dress materials for his funeral, and she has prayed. There is nothing more that she can do.

The final word, 'Absalom' is spoken sort of like an 'Amen' at the end of a poem. This is a biblical allusion to David's son Absalom, who was killed after plotting to kill his father. David however, still feels grief at the death of this son who plotted to kill him. In accepting to be employed by the gunman, the son has basically plotted against his mother’s investment in him and her limitless expectations for him. He has killed her hopes.

The mother, like King David, will experience profound grief over the death of her wayward son.


Figurative Devices


Simile

"She carried him like the poor carry hope"

This simile compares how she carried the child to how those in poverty carry their hope. This shows that the mother likely saw the son as a potential ticket out of poverty- a child that may secure that elusive visa and get an opportunity to work abroad, and, remembering his mother, send remittances to her.


"He says you are like a father to him"

The son compares the gunman to a father, showing that he fills a gap left by his own absent father.


Allusion

"what kind of father would give a son hot and exploding death, when he asks him for bread."

The mother questions the son's idolization of this donor of guns using a biblical allusion to Matthew 7:9, which states, "Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone?" (a similar verse is at Luke 11:11). The son's penury has led him to seek material goods, so why would this "father figure" offer him a weapon of certain death? The woman accuses the man of being purely wicked and having no regard for her son's wellbeing.


"She says psalms for him, she reads psalms for you,"

This is an allusion to the biblical book of Psalms. The mother says psalms hoping to protect her child, but she reads psalms for the gunman in hopes of his defeat or injury.


"She is throwing a partner with Judas Iscariot’s mother the thief on the left-hand side of the cross, his mother is the banker,"

This is a biblical allusion to Judas Iscariot, the man who betrayed Jesus in the bible, and the thief who was crucified on the left of Jesus in the bible. She is engaged in a savings agreement (called a partner in Jamaica, a meeting in Barbados or a sou sou in other Caribbean islands) with Judas Iscariot's mother (the mother of the well-known betrayer of Jesus) and the thief who was crucified with Jesus. The thief's mother is the banker, who keeps the money- meaning that she may have her money stolen if the thief learnt it from his mother.


"Absalom."

The final word, 'Absalom' is spoken sort of like an 'Amen' at the end of a poem. This is a biblical allusion to David's son Absalom, who was killed after plotting to kill his father. David however, still feels grief at the death of this son who plotted to kill him. In accepting to be employed by the gunman, the son has basically plotted against his mother’s investment in him and her limitless expectations for him. He has killed her hopes.

The mother, like King David, will experience profound grief over the death of her wayward son.









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Edward McBride
Edward McBride
6 days ago

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