Home Teachers' Resources ENGLISH POETRY NOTES, QUESTIONS & ANSWERS

ENGLISH POETRY NOTES, QUESTIONS & ANSWERS

ATTITUDE
 Attitudereferstothenatureofthoughts,viewsandfeelingsofthepersonaandalso
thatofthepoet
 Attitudeestablishestherelationshipbetweenthespeakerandtheobjectaddressed.
 Attimesattitudemayvaryfrom onestanzatoanothersuchthatapoem mayhavea
mixedattitude.Wearenotconcernedwithourthoughtsandfeelingsbutratherthoseof
thespeaker.
Somewordsmaybeusedtodescribeattitude:-
e.g
Scornful Angry Tenacity Loving
Disapproving Disgusted Thrift
Hostile Dissatisfied E.T.C Pessimistic
Contemptuous Contempt Decisive
Condescending Hatred Sarcastic
OfDislike Sympathy Trusting
Critical Indifferent Tolerant
Despising Modest Sincere
OfSympathy Optimistic Friendly
Patronizing Courteous Generous
Weinferattitudefrom themannerofexpression(word-choice)andthespeaker’stone
ofvoice.
Attitude is the point of view of an artist/poet concerning a particular
subject/object/societye.t.cpointofview.
TONE
 Tonereferstothequalityofvoicebehindthespeakingvoice.
 Apoem containsavoiceandlikeanyvoiceitcanprojectacertaintonethatgivesthe
listener(orreader)certainmessages.
 Toneisthevoicewithwhichapoetsayswhathesays,weobservehowhesaysitcoz
howsomethingissaidaffectsthemeaningofwhatissaid
Tonemaybesad
Ironic
Bitter ToneofLamentation
Happy Derisive
Sarcastic Contemptuous
Cold Condemnatory
Cynical Accusatory
Troubled Scornful E.T.C
Uncertain Grateful
Eager Bragging
Gleeful Resigned
Protesting
 Toneisdeterminedbythecontextinwhichwordsarespokene.gchoiceofwords,
imagery,rhythm,soundeffectse.t.c
MOOD
 Moodisthestateofmindofthespeakerinapoem.
 Stateofmindmeaning–thenatureoffeelingsthatareevidentinthepersonaashe
expresseshimselfinthepoem.
 Moodalsoreferstotheatmospheresurroundingapoem.
 n/b.Themoodofapoem isdeterminedbythetoneandviceversa.
 Toneandmoodhaveareciprocalrelationcozthemooddeterminesthetoneandinturn
tonereflectsthemood,forourtoneofvoicereflectsourstateofmind.
 Themoodofapoem maybe:-
Sad
Amused Disappointed Angry
Annoyed Bitter
Anxious Nostaigic
Bewildered Melancholic(PensiveSadness)
Blissful Quiet
Bouncy Resigned
Calm Humorous
Cheerful LightHearted
Complacent Relaxed
Crappy Desperate
Depressed SolemnE.T.C
 Quiteoftenwedescribemoodandtoneusingsimilaradjectives.
 Itisthetonalityofwords,images,descriptionofactionsandsettingofthepoem,which
createtheatmosphereandmoodinthepoem.
STRUCTURE
 Thisisthewaythepoetchooseshiswords,thewayheorganizesthem andthewayhe
instructshislinese.g.longelaboratesentencesorveryshortsentencesoramixtureof
longandshortsentences.
 Inpoetrywehaveexternalandinternalstructure.
a)ExternalStructure
 Referstotheactualvisibleshapeofapoem
 Inconventionalpoetry,thepoem hasasteadyregularrhythm andarhymescheme.
 Inmostcontemporary“freeverse”thepoetshapeshispoemsingroupsoflines
arrangingthem inwhatheconsidersbestorderforconveyinghismessage.(free
versemeans–notrestrained/restricted)
b)InternalStructure
 Thisistheorderlydevelopmentofapoem.
 Byexaminingcarefullythedevelopmentofapoem,weareabletoidentifythefact,
feelingsandideaswhichthepoetwishestocommunicatetous.
 Themainfeelingorideaiscalledatheme
 Instructure,therefore,welookatcontentandform
CONTENT
 Thisreferstowhatthepoem isabout
 Weconsider:-
a)SubjectMatter
 Thetopicofthepoem,whatitisaboutourratherthefactualreality
b)Theme
 Themainrealization,feelingorthoughtwhichthepoetwantsustogetform the
poem.i.ethepointwhichthepoem makesaboutthefactualreality.
LANGUAGEANDSTYLE
 Stylereferstothemedium thiswhichamessageispassedtothereader.
 In poetry,the poets employdifferentstylistic devices thatmake a poem more
interesting,memorable,musicalandenjoyabletoreadforexampleImagery,Irony,
Symbolism, Repetition, Allusion, Personification, Rhetorical Questions,
Contrast/Juxtaposition,Hyperbole,Oxymoxon,Litotes,Euphemism E.T.C
Soundpatternsinclude;-
Rhyme
Alliteration
Externalorganization
(Visual)
Stanzas
Lines
Punctuations
Rhythm
Rhyme
Alliteration
Consonance
Repetition/refrain
Onomatopoeiae.t.c
Internalorganization
(Audible)
Structure
Consonance
Onomatopoeia/ideophones
Assonance
RHYME
 Thisistherepetitionofsimilarsoundsbetweenwordsorsyllableswhichcomesatthe
endofthelines.
 Nb//itssoundnotspellingthatdeterminesrhyme.
e.gBOYHOODDREAMS
Theyhavethoughtasyoungmenthinka
Oflove,fameandgloryb
Theyhavefoundasoldmenfindc
Lifetalesstaleandhoaryb
Theyhadhopedandchildrenhoped
Topicklife’spleasantgainse
Andnowtheywalkwithbowed,headsf
Likedrenchedmenfrom therainse
Examplesofrhymingwords/syllablesare
Glory/hoary
Gains/rains
 Whenthereisapatterntotherhymes,thenwecallitarhyme-scheme.
 Arhyme–schemeisapatternofendrhymesinapoem expressedbylabelingeach
soundwithaletterofthealphabet.
 Lineswiththesameendrhymearegiventhesameletter.
 Thefirstrhymesoundisgivenletter“a”thesecondletter‘b’andsoon.
 Theabovepoem ‘BoyhoodDreams’thereforehasthefollowingrhymeschemeabcb,
defe
WHENLOVELYWOMANSTOPSTOFOLLY
Whenalovelywomanstoopstofollya
Andfindstoolatethatmenbetrayb
Whatcharm cansoothehermelancholya
Whatartcanwashherguiltyawayb
Theonlyartherguiltytocoverc
Tohidehershamefrom everyeye,d
Togiverepentancetoherlover,c
Andwithhisbosom istodied
Rhyme–scheme–abab,cdcd
 Suchapatternofrhymescheme(abab,cdcd)isdescribedasaregularrhymescheme.
Thisisbecauseitfollowsasystematicpattern.Howevertherearecaseswhere
repetitionofsoundsattheenddoesnotfollowanysystematicpattern.Insuchacase,it
isdescribedasanirregularrhyme-scheme.
ForExample
i. TRAINJOURNEY
Alongthemilesofsteela
Thatspanmylandb
Threadbarechildrenstandb
Kneesostrich–bulbousontheirreadylegsC
Theiremptyhungryhandsb
Liftedasinprayerd
Rhymeschemeabbcbd(irregularrhyme-scheme)
ii. SweetestLoveIDoNotGoa
Forwearinessoftheeb
Norinthehopethewordcanshowa
Afitterloveformeb
ButsincethatIc
Mustdiesatlast,itsbestd
Tousemyselfinjestd
Thisbyfeigneddeathstodiec
Rhyme–scheme(abab,cddc)
Nb//theabovepoem atfirsttherhymefollowsaparticularpattern(abab)then
becomesirregular(cddc)
ALLITERATION
 Thisistherepetitionofidenticalconsonantsoundatthebeginningofwordsinalineof
poetry.
i. Whenweedsinwheels,shootlongandlovely
ii. Stareforthesakeofthesoulsofthestainbirdssailing.
iii. Yes!Menmustmanoeuvre.Monarchsalso
iv. Privatepolicyisapublicprofit
v. Dignitystillshallbedressedwithdecorum
RHYTHM OFTHEPESTLE
Listenolisten
Listentothepalpablerhythm
Oftheperiodicpestle
Plunginginproudperfection
Intothecardialcavity
Ofmaternalmortal
CONSONANCE
 Thisistherepetitionofconsonantsoundinthemiddleorattheendofwords
HUFFERANDCUFFER
Hufferagiantungainlyandgruff
Encounteredagiantcalledcuffer
Saidthecuffertohuffer,I’m roughandim tough
Saidhuffertocuffer,I’m tougher
Theyshoutedsuchinsultsasboobandbuffoon
Andoverblownblowhardandblimp
Andblusteringblubberandbloatedballoon
Andshatterbrain,shortyandshrimp
Thenhufferandcufferexchangedmightyblows
Theybastedandbatteredandbelted
Theychoppedtheneckandtheyboopedinthenose
Andtheypoundedandpummeledandpelted
Theypinchedandtheypunchedandtheysmacked
Andtheywhacked
Andtheyrockedandsockedandtheysmashed
Andtherappedandtheyslappedandtheythrottledandthwacked
Andtheythumpedandtheybumpedandtheybashed
Theycudgeledeachotherontopofthehead
Withswipesoftheawfullestsort
Andnowtheywerenolongergiants,instead
Theybothareextremelyshort
ByJackPrelursky.
Rough–tough(endwithsimilarsound)
Chopped–booped
Rappedslapped
Thumpedbumped
Rockedsocked
ASSONANCE
 Thisistherepetitionofsimilar–soundingvowelsoundsinalineofpoetry
 Sharksbreathingthesea
 Sharpergarter
 Cracktheglass
 Thickpink
 Takethefakepaintaway
 TheraininSpainstaysmainlyintheplain.
THEVERDICT
Hetookagoodlook
Atthenuisancetooth
Andinaweexclaimed
Tisthefoodandthemood
Toblameforthemaim
Largeboomedhistoolsonthemouth
Andoffcamethetoothwithitsroots
ByNjokiGitumbi
Took,goodlook
Foodmood
Blamemaim
ONOMATOPOEIAANDIDEOPHONES
 Onomatopoeiaisthenamegiventotheeffectofsoundofwordimitatingormiming
soundsoftheobject(i.e.theydescribethesoundmadeduringanaction)
i. Mowingofacow
ii. Sprashofwater
iii. Buzzingofabee
iv. Whistlingofthewind
v. Rattlingoftheroof
vi. Gallopingofahorse
vii. Screechingofavehicle
viii. Hissingofasnake
ix. Rumblingofthunder
x. Fallingwithathud
IDEOPHONES
 Theseareactualsoundsproducedduringanaction.Theygivetheactualsoundinan
attempttocreateabetterimpressioninthereadersmind.
E.G
i.TheDuckQuackedKwak!Kwak!
ii.Pu!TheManFellWithAThud
Shhh!ThePrefectHushedTheNoisemakers
Thevehiclesrammedintoeachotherbuum!
Nb//Ideophonesmaybeusedinconjunctionwithonomatopoeiawordsinordertogive
abetterimpressionofthesound
FORLACKOFCHOICE
Bum!Bum!Bum!
Themusicboomstoattract
Theyoungones–thelouderthebetter
Pi….piii!Pi….piii!Pi….piii!
Thematatuhoots
Asitbeckonspassengers
Idon’tliketheloudmusic
ButI’m lateIgetin
Thematatuissoonfull
Themakangebangsthedoorshut
Thematatuzoomstodestination
Idon’tlikethemanseatednexttome
He’sallfilthyandhisfeetsmelly.
Ngrrh!Mgrrh!Mgr…..h!
Hesnoresalreadyinhappyland
Mouthhangsopen.
Salivaquietlystealsout
Bum!Bum1Bum!
Themusicgetslouder
Idon’tlikethismatatu
ButIdon’thavemyown
ByNyamburaNjuguna
 Identifytheideophoensandonomatopoeiawordsused.
REPETITION
 Repetitionisderivedfrom theword‘repeat’whichmeanstodosomethingmorethan
one
 Inpoetry,words,lines,phrasesandstanzasmayberepeated.
 Repetitionisusedto
(i)Createrhythm orrhythm pattern
(ii)Placeemphasisonanideaorhighlightanitem thatfeelsimportantinapoem
Musicalityandmemorabilityisstressed.
E.GASKMENOMORE
Askmenomore,wherelovebestows
WhenJuneispast,thefadingrose
Forinyourbeautiesorientdeep
Theseflowersareintheirclausesasleep
Askmenomore,whetherdostray
Thegoldenatomsoftheday!
Forinpurelovehiddendidprepare
Thosepoulderstoenrichyourhair
Askmenomore,whitherclothhaste
Thenightingale,whenMayispast
Forinyoursweetdrivingthroat
Shewhitersandkeepwarnhernote
Askmenomore,wherethosestarslight
Thatdownstairsfallindeadonnight
Forinyoureyes,theysitandthere,
Fixed,becomeastheirsphere
Askmenomore,ifeastorwest,
Thephoenixbuildsherspicynest
Foruntoyouatlastsheflies
Andinyourfragrantbosom dies.
FIGURESOFSPEECH
 Poetsusefiguresofspeechtocreatementalimageshenceanystylethatapoet
mayusethisendqualifiestobea‘figureofspeech’
 Poetsusefiguresofspeechtocreatementalimageshenceanystylethatapoet
mayusethisendqualifiestobea“figureofspeech”
 Figuresofspeechareexpressionsthatdeviatefrom theusualapplicationofwords
e.gMentallydevangedpeoplearereferredtoas’mixed-up’m,mentallyuprightas
‘levelheaded’otherwordsusede.g.plainasday,heavyaslead,blood-redinthisthe
poetswanttothrow ideashelpingthereadertounderstandthepoem (creates
mentalpictures0
 Themostcommonfiguresofspeechare:-
1)Simile
Thisisastylewhereonethingiscomparedtoanotherusingwordsofexpressing
likenesssuchas‘like’Or‘as’
E.gherpresencewaslikearayofsunshineinadarkenedroom”
a)Quickaslightening
b)Deafasatrade–man’sdummy
c)Hechargedatm elikealonebuffalo
d)Johnbehaveslikeapig
e)Johnisasdirtyasapig
ThismeansthatthecharacterofJohnisdescribedorlikenedtothedirtinessofapig
MyheartbyChristianrosseli
Myheartislikeasingingbird
Whosenestisinawateredshort
Myheartislikeanapple-tree
Whoseboughsarebentwiththicknessfruit
Myheartislikearainbowshell
Thatpaddlesinahalcyonsea
Myheartisgladderthanallthese
Becausemylovehascometome.
METAPHOR
 Inmetaphor,thisisusingorgivingadirectattributetoanobject
 Metaphortransfersaqualitypossessedbyonethingtoanotherandequatesthem
asiftheyareoneandthesamething.
E.g.awomanmaydescribeherhusband’squietly
“amonsterofaman”
‘mylifehasbeenafamine’
Thistaskisarealmountain
Johnisapig
Maryisanangel
Iloveyoumygentleone
Iloveyoumygentleone
Whichyoudrankontheweddingday;
Myloveisthebutterweweresmearedwith
Tosellfidelityintoourhearts
Youarethecattle-birdsegg
Fourthosewhosawyouarewealthy,
Youarethepapyrusseedofthelake
Whichtheypulloutwithbothhands
AndIsingforyouwithtears
Becauseyoupossessmyheart,
Iloveyoumygentleone
ByRalphBitamazire
 Thisisagoodexampleofalovepoem.Thisisamanrecitingorsingingtohiswife.
Thepoem issetinAfrica.IntheAfricansociety,it’sthemanwhoapproachesand
winsawoman.Theloveofthemanforthewomaniscomparedfreshasthemilkin
therubindimeaningthattheman’sloveispure.
 MyloveisthebutterweweresmearedwithButterisnutritiouspartofthemilk.This
showsthatsheissoprecioustohim.
PERSONIFICATION
 Thisiswherenon-humanorlifelessobjectsaregivenhumanattributes
e.g.
i.Thewindwhistledthroughtheleaves
ii.Thelittledoglaughedtoseesuchfun
iii.Thedishranawaywiththespoon
iv.Thetreesbenttoletthewindpass
v.Hisvoiceprovokedthesilentdust
vi.Pregnantcloudse.t.c
 Itshumanbeingswhowhistle,orlaugh.Dogsbarkanddishesarelifelessandso
cannotrunpregnancyisassociatedwithhumans&animals
ImetathiefbyAustinbukenya,
Onthebeach,onthecoast
Undertherale,whisperingcoconuttowers
Beforethegrowlingfoamingwaves,
ImetathiefwhoguesedIhad.
Aninnocentheartforhertosteal.
Shetookmyheartandletmeunder
Theintimatecashewboughswhichshaded
Thedownygrassandpeepingweeds
Shejumpedandpluckedthenutsformetosuck
Shesangandlaughedapressed
Igazed,herhairwaslikethemooolofamountainsheep
Hereyes,apairofbrown,blackbeadsfloatinginmilk
Juicyandroundasplantationshoots
Herlegs,armsandneck
Anwinegourds,herpillowybreasts
Herthroatutteredfreshbananajuice,
Matching,herface,smoothbananaandripe.
Itouched,butlongbeforeIeventasted
Myhearthadflowedfrom meintoherbreast
Andthenshewenthighandsouth
Andleftmycarcassroastinginthefireshehadlit
E.GofPersonification
 Idlewhisperingcoconuttowers
 Glowlingfoamingwaves
 Peepingweeds.
HYPERBOLE
 Thisreferstoobviousexaggerationusedtoachievecertaineffect
 Itisusedtohighlightandemphasizethepointinquestion
E.gHewassohungrythathecouldeatawholecow
HavingbeentherewhenJesuswasborn
Wellthinkingofsame
Whenithinkofmybeloved,fooddropsfrom mymouth
Hervoiceuttersfreshbananajuice
Lookatthepoem ‘imetathief’byaustinbukenya
LapobobyCliffLubwa
LAPOBO
Tallbutnottootall
Shortbutnottooshort
Sheisofmedium size
LAPOBO
Herteetharenotasash
Northecolourofmaizeflour
Herteethallwhiteasfreshmilk
Thewhitenessofherteeth
WhenIthinkofher
Makesfooddropfrom myhand
LAPOBO
Blackbutnottooblack
Brownbutnottoobrown
Herskincolourisjustbetweenblackandbrown
LAPOBO
Herheelshavenocracks
Herpalmsaresmoothandtendertotouch
Hereyes.Ho!Theycandestroyanybody.
 Intheabovepoem,thedescriptionoflapoboistoogoodtobetrue.
 Sheisangelicorextraordinarybeautiful
 Anotherelementofhyperbole/exaggerationisseenwherethepersonasaysthatthe
thoughtofLapobo’swhiteteeth,makesfooddropfrom hishand.Itmaynotbe
necessarythatfoodcandropfrom thehand.WhatheistellingusisthatLapobo
makeshim tobeabsent-mindedshowingorbringsouttheinfatuation.
 ‘Hereyes,Ho!’Theycandestroyanybody.
 Thereisasayingthatsays,“Thebeautyisintheeyesofthebeholder”noteveryone
willlikehereyes.Toothers,Lapobocouldbedismissedasugly.
 But,thepersona’spointisclear,tohim,sheisbeautifulandcapableofbewitching
anyman.Thisisbecauseheiscaptivatedbyherthusgeneralizeshisfeelings.
SYMBOLISM
 Asymbolissomethingthatstandsforanother.
 Hence,symbolism meansusingonethingtorepresentanother.
 Tounderstandsymbolism inpoetry,onehastotaketimetounderstandthepoem.
Sometimesadeep analysisisrequired to unearththesymbolism beforethe
messageisunderstood.
e.g)Theyranoutofmud
thereisalittlehut
builtacrossfrom here
theyhavemuddedtwowalls
andthereststandsunmade
fortheyranoutofmud.
Thereisadeepgully
Runningalongtheroad
Theyhavefilledithalfway
Andtherestisstillgaping…
Fortheyranoutofmud.
Thereisapotbythealtar
Thattheybegantomould,
Theyfinishedthebase
Buttheneckremainsundone…..
Fortheyranoutofmud.
Mud!Mud!Mud!
Whocanfindmud!
Maybeifitweregold
Someonewould.
 Intheabovepoem,‘Mud’isusedsymbolicallytorepresentopportunitiespeoplefallto
seizeandresourcestheyfailtotap.
 Humanbeingshavebecomesousedtobuyingeverythingreadymadethattheyhave
ceasedtobecreativeandhaverefusedtolearntheskillsofthecraftsman.There’s
plentyofmudabout,ifonlypeoplewouldgooutandfetchit.
 Perhapsmudwouldalsorefertoself-help.Ineachcase,peoplehavesatbackwaiting
forsomeonetofinishthejobforthem insteadofperseveringanddoingitthemselves.
 Inthe4thstanza,goldisusedtorepresentalltheconsumergoods’peoplecraveforin
themodernworld.Theyforgetthatsomebodymustlabourtoproducethesethingsand
theythemselvescanonlyobtainthem bystriving.
e.g2:ThecrackbySheikhElMiskery
Cracktheglass
Andthecrack
Willalwaysremain
Thehumanheart
Hasthesamevein
It’sjustasdelicate
Tothestrain
Onceitishurt
Itistoohard
Tofadethestrain
Thoughpartscan
Fixtogether
You’vejusttotouchthewound
Tomakeitdrainagain
 Theglassisbeingcomparedtoahumanheart.Justlikeyoucannoteraseacrackon
aglass,socanyounotfadethecrack/strainonhumanheart.Youcanverywellfix
partsofabrokenhearttogetherbutonceyoutouchtherepairedglassitwillcrumble
down.Thisisthesamewiththehumanheart.Youonlyneedtodosomethingsmall
tohim/hertomakethem hurtagain.
IRONY
 Thisoccurswhenideas,wordsorsituationsarecontrarytowhatwewouldexpect
thusadifferencebetweenthesurfaceandrealmeaning.
 Therearetwotypesofironycommonlyused.
a)Verbalirony
b)Situationalirony.
VerbalIrony
 Thisreferstoonethingbeingsaidwhentheoppositeisimplied.Thisisalso
referredtoassarcasm.
 Thetoneofvoiceiswhatdetermineswhetherthepersonissincereornot.(If
sarcasm isnotdetected,thenmisinterpretationmayoccur)
 Theintentionofverbalironyistoridicule,hurtorshowdispleasureandangerof
thespeaker.
 Helpsrevealtheattitudeofthespeaker.
SituationalIrony.
 Thisoccurswhenasituationisquitedifferentfrom whatwasexpected(oppositeof
whatwewouldexpect)
 (Forinstance,ateacherinarelationshipwithhisstudent,Fatherrapinghischild,a
policemanarrestedforbreakingthelaw.)Allthisdeviatefrom thenorm becausewe
expecttheteachertomouldthestudentintobeingarespectableperson.Thefather
protectingthechildandthepolicemanenforcingthelaw.
E.G.BUILDINGTHENATION
TodayIdidmyshare
Inbuildingthenation
Idrovethepermanentsecretary
Toanimportanturgentfunction
Infacttoaluncheonatthevice
Themenureflecteditsimportance
Coldbellbeerwithsmalltalk
Thenfriedchickenwithniceties
Winetofillthehollownessofthelaughs
Ice-cream tocoverthem stereotypejokes.
CoffeetokeepthePsawakeonreturnjourney.
Idrovethepermanentsecretaryback
Heyawnedmanytimesinthebackofthecar
Thentokeepawake,suddenlyasked
Didyouhaveanylunchfriend?
Andsecretarysmilingathisbelatedconcern
ThatIhadnot,butwasslimming!
Uponwhichhesoundwithseriousness
Thatamusedmorethanannoyedme
Mwananchi,Itoohadnone!
Iattendedthemattersofstate
Highlydelicatediplomaticdutiesyouknow
Andfrienditgoesagainstmygrain
Causesmystomachulcersandwind
Andhecontinued,yawningagain
Thepainswesufferinbuildingthenation!
SothePShadulcerstoo!
MyulcerIthinkareequallypainful
Onlytheyarecausedbyhunger
Notsumptuouslunches!
So,twonationbuilders
Arrivedhomethisevening
Withterriblestomachpains
Theresultsofbuildingthenation
Differentways
ByHenryBarlow.
 Intheabovepoem,weexpecttoseethePSindoingalotofconstructivework.We
expecttoseehim attendthedelicatemattersofstate.Instead,hedoestheopposite
-hegoestopartyandhaveagoodtime.Heeatsheavilyandkeepsonyawningatthe
backofthevehicle.
 Thedriver,ontheotherhanddrovethePStoafunctionandspentthewholetime
sittinginthecar.Attheendweconcludethatthetwodidnotinanywaycontribute
tobuildingthenation.
SATIRE
 Thisisafigurativelanguageusedtoexposetheweaknessincharacterofaperson
through mockery orridicule (weakness in characterlike foolishness,greed,
selfishness,corruption).Apersonisridiculedusingirony,exaggeration,contrastetc.
NB//Theweaknessisrevealedtothepublicinanattempttocorrectthem.
 Inthepoem ‘BuildingtheNation’theweaknessoftheleaderisexposedsincewe
seethePSindulginghimselfinleisureinsteadofworking.Theimportanturgent
functionisindeedaparty.
 Satireconsistsofusinglighthearted,playfullanguagetocriticizeverybigfollies
(evils)andtherebypresentingthehumancharactersinvolvedaslaughableand
ridiculous.
SARCASM
 Thisisadeviceinwhichabitterorare-woundingremarkisoftenironicallyworded
(remainsimplytheveryoppositeofwhattheyappeartomean).
ThewomanImarriedbyEdwinWaiyaki
ThewomanImarried
Isanout-rightbone-shaker
Fourafulldecade
Shehadbangedatypewriter
Andnowinsubstitution
Bangsthecrockery
Untilmyhousesoundslikeafactory.
Thenoisekeephersane
Theysay.
Thetoneoftheabovepoem issarcastic/satiricalwhentheysaythenoisekeepsher
sane.
THEWIND
Isawyouthekitesonhigh
Andblowthebirdsaboutthesky
AndallaroundIheardyoupass.
Likeladiesacrossthegrass
Owind,ablowingalldaylong
Owind,thatsingssoloudasong!
Isawthedifferentthingsyoudid
Butalwaysyouyourselfhid
Ifeltyoupush
Icouldnotseeyouyourselfatall.
Owind,ablowingalldaylong
Owind,thatsingssoloudasong!
Ohyouthatissostrongandcold
Oblower,areyouyoungorold?
Areyouabeastoffieldortree?
Orjustastrongerchildthanme?
Owind,ablowingalldaylong
Owindthussingssoloudasong!
a)Whatistherhyme-scheme?
Aabbccddeeccffggffcc
b)Thespeakerachildastrongerchildthan
DIRECTADDRESS
 Thisiswherethepersonaswitchesfrom narratingandinsteadtellshisthoughtsin
‘directaddress’
 Insomecases,directaddressisdenotedbytheopeningandclosingquotation
marks.
 However,in othercircumstances,whatstrikes us is the change in voice or
perspective
THEWASHERWOMAN’SPRAYER
(Tomymother–in-law)
Lookatherhands
Raw,knobbyandcalloused
Lookatherface
Likeabeanskinsoakedinbrine
Forcountlessyearsshehastoiled
Towashhermastersclothes
SoiledbyaLord’sluxuries
Infrost-freckledmornings,
Insun-scorchedafternoons
Soiledhasdrudgedmummeries
Onedayshefellandfainted
Withweariness
Hermouthafoamingspout
Gushingagibberish.
‘GoodLord!DearLord!’sheshouted
“Whyam Isotormented?”
TellmeLord.TellmeOLord”
“Mychild!DearChild”Sheheard
“sufferforthosewholiveingildedsin”
Toelforthosewhoswim inabowlofpinkgin”
“ThankyouLord!”ThankyouLord
NeveragainwillIask
WhymustIcarrythistask
 Thesubjectinthepoem aboveislikelytobeaslaveorservantbecausesherefers
employeras‘master’
 Thepoem changesfrom narrationtodirectaddresswhichpowerfullycapturesthe
woman’spain,desperationandfrustration.
 Directaddressallowsustosharedirectlyinhertribulationse.g‘GoodLord!DearLord!’
Why am I so
tormented?
ShecriestoGodaboutherfateandGodanswerers
“MyChild!”DearChild”
Sufferforthosewholiveingidedskin.
APOSTROPHE
 Apostropheiswherewedirectlyaddressanon-livingthingwhichcannotrespondasif
itwereaperson.
 E.gapoem mayaddressdeathasifdeathwerelistening.Alsootherphenomenalike
mountains,riverse.t.c
 Insuchcases,feelingsofadmiration,pityorsorrowmaybeexpressed.
PRAYERTOTHEYOUNGMOON
Youngmoon
Hailyoungmoon
Hail,hail
Youngmoon
Tellmeofsomething
Hail,hail!
Whenthesunrises
Thoumustspeaktome,
ThatImayeatsomething
Thoumustspeaktomeaboutalittlething
ThatImayeat
Hail,hail
Youngmoon!
 Themoonisaddressedasifitwereahumanbeinge.g“tellmeofsomething”
 Thepersonaurgesthemoontospeaktohim
DAYBREAK
Odawn
Wheredoyouhindyourpaintsatnight
Thatcoolbreath,thatscent.
Withwhichyousweetentheearlyair?
Odawn
Whatlanguagedoyouuse
Toinstructthebirdstosing
Theirearlysongs
Andinsectstosound
Therhythm ofanAfricanheartbeat?
Odawn
Wheredoyoufindthegoodwill
Tospeedtheearlytrafficonitsway,
Rousethecolddrunkard
Andsendyouraskarisandbarkingdogs
Tochasethievestotheirdens?
Odawn
Whosecoldbreathmakesyoungboysandgims
Gladofawarm sheet,
Enflamesthedreamsofunmarriedones,
Andbringfamiliarnoises.
Togladdentheheartsofthemarried.
 Dawnisaddressedasifitwereapersonwhocanresponde.g.“O dawnwhat
languagedoyouuse…….”
 Apostropheintheabovepoem helpsustodiscussdawnmoreintimatelyandbringto
tore,moreforcefullytheeffectofdawnonpeople’slivese.g.whenitsdaybreak,the
drunkardisforcedtogetup;“Rousethecolddrunkard”
 Thechildrenareaffectedbythecoldandlongforthewarm blankets.
 Thebreakofdawntriggersactivities;thelawenforces‘askaris’areabletocarryout
theirduties.
 Thepersona,thowtheapostrophe,isabletoshowhisappreciationfordawn“where
doyouhideyourpaintsatnight”
WEDDINGEVE
ShouldI
OrshouldInot
Taketheoathtolove
Forever
ThispersonIknowlittleabout?
Doessheloveme
Ormycar
Ormyfuture
WhichIknowlittleabout?
Willshecontinuetoloveme
Whenthefutureshesawinme
Crumblesandfadesintonothing
Leavingthenakedme
Tolovewithouthope?
Willthatsmileshewears
Lastthroughthehazardstocome
Whenfatestrikes
Acrossthedreamsoftomorrow?
Orwillshe,
Likethecleverpassengerina
Faultyplane
Andjumpouttosaveherlife
Leavingmetocrashintotheunknown?
WhatmagiccanIuse
Toseewhatliesbeneath
Herangerfaceandwellknithair?
Toseeherhopesanddreams
BeforeItaketheoath
Toloveforever?
Wearebothwisechessplayers
Shemakesamove
Andwetrapeachotherinour
Secretdreams
Hopingtowinagainsteachother,
ByEverretStanda
.
1)Whoisthepersonainthepoem?
Agroom /manwhoisabouttomarry.
Illust-
2)Whendoyouthinkthispoem waswritten?
Ontheeveoftheweddingday.
Illust–
3)Whoisthepersonatalkingto/
Heisinaconversationwithhimself
4)Whyisthepersonareluctanttotaketheoathtoloveforever?Becauseheknowslittle
aboutthepersonheisabouttomarry.
5)Whyisthepersonaapprehensiveofthesmileshewears?Becausehedoesn’tknow
whetheritwilllastthroughdifficulttimes.
6)Whatistheeffectof
i)Thesimilelikethecleverpassengerinafaultyplane?
Acleverpassengerinafaultyisalwayspreparedwithalifejackettoescapeshouldthe
planefinallycollapse.
 Thepoetusessimiletoreinforcehismessageofapprehension.
 Hewonderswhethershewillonlybewithhim aslongasthingsaregoingwell.As
soonasthingsgoawry,likeacleverpassenger,shewillwearherlifejacketand
escape.
ii) Thesymbol–wisechessplayers
 Usedtoshowthatthetwoarenotcompletelyhonestwitheachother
 Achessplayerwillnotrevealthenextmovetotheopponent.
 It’sacloselyguardedsecrettohelpwinthegame.
7)Whatistheeffectofrhetoricalquestionsinthepoem?
Theydonotnecessarilyrequireimmediateanswersbutrathertheyallowthereaderto
reflectontheissueraisedinthepoem,thatis,theuncertaintyofmarriage.
8)Summarizethethemeofthepoem inonesentence.
Thepoem expressesfearsaboutmarriageandtheuncertaintywithwhichamananda
woman.
9)Whatistheattitudeofthepersonatowardsmarriage?
Acriticaltone.
MYFATHERBEGANASAGOD
Myfatherbeganasagod
Fullofheroictales
Ofdayswhenhewasyoung
Hislawswereasimmutable
Asifbroughtdownfrom Sinai
Whichindeedhethoughttheywere
Hefearlesslyliftedmetoheaven
Byamereswingtohisshoulder
Andmademeagodling
Byseatingmeastride
Ourmitchcow’sbackandtoo
Uponthegreatwhitegobbler
Ofwhichotherswentinconstantfear.
Strangethenhowheshrankandshrank
Untilbymytimeofadolescence
Hehadbecomeafoolishsmalloldman
Withsillyandoutmodedviews
Oflifeandofmorality.
Strangerstill
ThatasIbecameolder
Hisfaultsandhisintolerances
Scattedawayintothepast
Revealingvirtues
Suchashonesty,generosity,integrity.
Strangestofall
Howthedeeperherecedesintothegrave
ThemoreIseemyself
Asjustonemoreofallthelittlemen
Whocreepthroughlife?
Noknee-hightothislong-deadgod.
1.Whatisthepoem about?
 Aboutachildwhohasalotofrespectforthefatherasachild,butashegrows
up,hebeginsdoubtinganddespisinghisfatherespeciallywhenhereaches
adolescencestage
 Duringthistime,hefeelsheknowsmorethanhisfatherhowever,whenhe’s
older,herealizeshisfatherwasrightandthevirtuesheadvocatedoughttobe
followed.
2.Whatdoyouthinkisthepurposeofthepoetinwritingthispoem?
 Istoeducatebothchildrenandparents
 Thechildrenshouldunderstandthatwhatevervirtuestheirparentsinciteinthem
arefortheirowngood.
 Theparentsontheotherhandshouldnotbeshockedwhentheirchildrenwho
trustedandsawthem assuperiorwhentheywereyoungsuddenlychangeand
feeltheyareuselessandinferior.Thisisjustastageofgrowingwhichconfuses
them butafterawhiletheycomebacktotheirsenses.
3.Commentonthesuitabilityofthetitleofthepoem.
 Thetitleissuitable,whenthechildisyoung,heseeshisfatherasagod-amighty
superiorperson.
 Thenastimegoeson,heisnolongeragodtohim butafoolisholdman.
4.Whatistheattitudeofthepersonatowardshisfather?
 Theattitudekeepschanging
 Whenhe’syoungheregardshisfatherhighly,heseeshisfatherasimportantand
superior.
 However,ashegrowsandreachesadolescentstage,hebeginstodespisehis
father.Heseeshisfatherasanoldfashionedpersonwhohasnothinggoodto
offer.
 Thisattitudechangeswhenhematures.Heseeshisfatherasavirtuousand
remembersallthathetoldhim,.Heregardshisfatherassuperioroncemore.
5.Whydoyouthinkthepersonafeelsthathisfatherhasshrunk?
 Whenhegrowstallerandcannolongerbecarriedshoulderhigh.Hisfather,who
isnolongergrowingappearstobeshrinkinginstead.
6.Identifyandexplainanythreestylisticdevicesusedinthepoem.
i.Symbolism
‘god’usedtosymbolizeperfection,superityandmighty.
ii. Simile-asimmutableasifbroughtfrom Sinai
 Thisdemonstratesthefinalityoftheimportanceofthelawsthathisfathergave.
 Toshowtheimportance,thelawsarecomparedtotheonesgiventoMosesby
God.
iii. Hyperbole–‘Hefearlesslyliftedmetoheaven’
 Isusedtobringoutthepictureoftheheightatwhichthepersonwaslifted–very
high,heavenexaggeratesthisheight.
iv. Repetitione.gshrank–shrinkingseenasacontinuingprocess.
 ‘strange’initsvariousdegrees(e.gStrange,strangerandsragest).Emphasizes
onthechangingviewsandattitudeofthepersona.Whenhebecomesana
adolescent,hisviewstowardshisfatherchanges(strange)consideringhehas
alwaysviewedhisfatherasveryimportant.Afterhisfathersdeathhediscovers
heisnobetter,thanhisfatherandalltheotherpeople(strangest).
v. Metaphor
 Mademeagodling
 Thisisusedtobringouthow importantthepersonafeltwhenhisfatherlifted
him up.
 Isjustonemoreofthelittlemen.
 Thelittlemenisusedmetaphoricallytobringoutchangesinthepersonas
attitude.Henolongerfeelssuperiorbutheisjustlikeeverybodyelse.Hedoes
notconsiderhimselfimportantanymore.
 Whocreepthroughlife
 Thisshowsthathumanbeingslackconfidenceandareunsureofwhattheydo.
 Noknee=-high
 Thismetaphorisusedtobringouttheimagethepersonanowhasofhimself.H
eisnobetterthanhisfatherhehadearlierdespised.
7.Whatdothefollowinggroupsofpeoplelearnfrom thepoem?
a)Parents b)Children
 Bothparentsandchildrenshouldbetoleranttooneanother.
8.Explainthemeaningofthefollowingwords
 Immutable–unabletobechanged
 Milchcow-cow’smilk
 Outmoded–oldfashionednolongermodern,usefulornecessary.
 Seated–disappeared.
9.Innotmorethan25words,summarizethechangingviewsofthepersona.
a.Heseeshisfatheras
 Impandsuperior
 Fullofheroictales
 Havinglawsthatarefinal
 Abletolifthim
 Verybrave.
b.Beginstodespisehisfatherashebecomesanadolescent.
 Heseeshim asfoolish
 Hisviewsappearoldfashioned,especiallytheonestouchingonlife
c.Hevalueswhathisfatherdidforhim ashebecomesolder.
 Virtuesarerevealed
 Seeshimselfjustashesawhisfather.
THESMILINGORPHAN
Andwhenshepassedaway,
Theycame,
Kinsmencame,
Friendscame,
Everybodycametomournher
Hospitalizedforfivemonths
Thewardwasherwould
Fellowpatientshercompatriots
Themeagerhospitalsupply–herdiet
Whenshewasdying
Hersonwasonofficialduty
Thestatedemandedhisservices
Heronlydaughter,undeducated,
Satbyher,
Crying,praying,waitingforananswer
From Godfarabove
Wishing,shespokethelanguage
Figuresinwhite–coatsdounderstand
Theymatched,hefiguresdid,
Siff,numbanddeaf,tocriesandwishes
Ofherdyingmother.
Asshewasdying
Friendsandkinsmentalkedofher
Howgood,howhelpful;averypracticalwoman.
Nonereachedher;theyweretoobusy,therewasnomoney,
Whowouldlookaftertheirhomes?
Wasitsocrucialtheirpresence?
Butwhenshepassedaway,theycame,
Kinsmencame,friendshiredcarstocome,
Neighboursgatheredtomournher,
Theyoughttobethereforthefuneral,
Sotheyswore
Themournersshriekedoutcries
Astheyarrivedinthebusycompoundofthedead
Memoriesoflovedonesnomore
Stimulatedtearsofmany.
Theycrieddutifultearsforthedeceased
Nowstretchingtheirhandsallovertohelp
Thedaughterlookedatthem
Withdryeyes,quiet,blank
Themournerspinchedeachother
Shockedbythestone–heartedness
Oftheorphan
Shesat;watchingthetearssoaktheirgarments
Orinthesoilaroundthem;wasted.
Thatnight,shewenttoherlove,
Inthefreshlymadeemergencygrasshut,
Andletloosealltiesoftheconventionaldressshewore
Submittingtothegreatpower,shewhispered.
Now…..
YouandImustknownow…..
Tomorrowyoumightneverunderstand
Unabletolickmytears……
Andtherewaslight
Inthedarknessofthehut
Whileoutside
Themournerscried
Louderthantheorphan
ByGraceBirabweIsharaza
1.Whoisthepersonainthepoem?
 Observer–tellsthestoryofthedeceased,thesmilingorphanandthemourners.
2.Whatisthepoem about?
 Thepoem isaboutawomanwhowassickandhospitalizedforfivemonthsand
wasnevervisitedbyherrelativeswhoclaimedtheywerebusy.Later,thewoman
diesandironicallytherelativescometotheirfuneralinlargenumbersvowing
thattheycannotmisstheburial.Duringthefuneral,heronlydaughter(Whohad
stayedwithherinhospital)seemsunmovedandtherelativesstartbackbitingher
sayingshe’shard-hearted.
3.Commentontheeffectivenessofthelittleofthepoem.

Veryeffectiveinrelationtowhathasbeendescribedinthepoem.Ithasbeen
usedinthereferencetotheilliterategirl/daughter.Whohadstayedinhospital
withthemotherforfivemonthsbutnowisperceivedasnotbeinginmourning
theothermourners.Thismakeshersmileattheirhypocrisy.Sheisanorphan
nowthathermotherisdead.
4.Identifyonecharactertrailoftheorphan
Loving /caring – satbyhermother’ssidethroughoutthefivemonthsshewas
hospitalized
Responsible–shetakescareofhersickmotherwhenotherpeople/relativesandeven
herbrothergaveexcusesofunavailability.
5.Identifyandillustratetwostylisticdevicesusedinthispoem.
Repetition…..theycame….came
 Toillustratethefactthatthemournersarrivedforthefuneralinlargenumbers.
Rhetoricquestions–whowouldlookaftertheirhomes/
 Wasitsocrucialtheirpresence?
 Revealstheattitudeofthemournersatthebeginning,thattheywerenot
bothered.
Hyperbole…..Thetearssoaktheirgarments’
 Enhancesthesatirethatthemournerscrymuchandweknowthattheirgriefisn’t
genuine.
Ellipsis’Now….,tears….’
 Enhancessuspense,allowsimaginationandrevealsfeelingsoftheorphan,the
strainsshe’sbeenundere.t.c
6.Describethemoodofthepoem.
Sad/melancholic/somber/sorrowful
 Thepoem capturesthelossofalovedone.Theorphanismourninghermother.
ShesatbyhermothercryingandprayingtoGodperhapstosavehermotherbut
themotherdies.
7.Explainthefollowinglinesasusedinthepoem
i.Theycrieddutifultearsforthedeceased
Theirtearswerenotgenuine/theywerehypocritical
ii.Andtherewaslightinthedarknessofthehut.
She feltrelieved – she had unburdened hergrief(with herlover,there’s no
condemnation)
Adarkdrought
Ithought
Isawthemoonshine
Thawingtheomenofournight
Butitwasadeaddream
Astillbornhope
Whoseghostwouldnotcease
Tohauntourendlesssleep
Ithought
Iheardthecockcrowing
Wakingthesleepingfrom death
Butitwasthenightchild
Cryingforamothersmilk
Anightchildcryingtheneed
Ofallourhearts
Ithought
Isawthecloudsgather
Foretellingthepassingofdrought
Butitwastheslowcircle.
Ofhungryvultures
Waitingtounfleshus
Cycling,waitingincoldpatience
Ithought
Ifeltthesprayofrain
ThatIheardthetriumphofthunder
Butitwasthesplatteringofblood
Andthedarkthreat.
Oftheconquerorstriumph
Ifearit’salongnight,yetalongdrought.
a.Identifyandexplainthethreeimagesofthehopebroughtoutinthepoem.
i.Moonshine–whenmoonshinesatnight.Darknessdisappears
– Thissignifiesthedisappearance/meltingawayofthebadomenassociatedwith
darkness.
ISHALLRETURN
Ishallreturn,Ishallreturnagain
Tolaughandloveandwatchwithwondereyes
Atgoldennoontheforestfiresburn
Waftingtheirblueblacksmoketosapphireskies
Ishallreturntoloiterbythestreams
Thatbathethebrownbladesofbendinggrasses
Andrealizeoncemoremythousanddreams
Ofwatersrushing,downthemountainpasses.
Ishallreturntohearthefiddleandthelife
Ofvillagedances,deardelicioustunes
Thatstirthehiddendepthsofnativelife
Straymelodiesofthedim –rememberedtunes
Ishallreturn,Ishallreturnagain
Toeasemymindoflong,longyearsofpain.
a.Explainbrieflywhatthepoem isabout
– Aboutaman/woman/personwhoisinexile/awayfrom home
– He/sheismissingvariousaspectsoflifeathomeandstronglywishestoreturn/
gobacktohis/herhome.
b.Innoteform,identifyfourthingswhichthepersonaislongingtoreturnto
– Forestfires
– Streams
– Villagemusic(fiddleandfife/villagedances)
– Toeasehismind.
c.Withillustrationsfrom thepoem,identifythreestylisticdevicesusedinthepoem.
i. Alliteration–watchwithwonder–givesrhythm
ii. Repetition–Ishallreturn–givesrhythm
d.Whatisthetoneofthepoem?Illustrateyouranswer
Nostalgic/sentimental/longing
e.Whatkindofeventisthepersonaliving?Explainyouranswers
– Acoldeventdevoidofsunshine,riversandwithlittletimeforrelaxationand
socialization.Thesearetheaspectsoflifeshe/heismissing
f. Whatspecificnameisgiventopoemswithonestanzaandfourteenlinesastheone
abovesonnet
g.Whatisthenamegiventothelasttwolinesendinginsimilarsound?Couplet.
WESTERNCIVILIZATION
Sheetsoftinnailedtoposts
Drivenintheground
Makeupthehouse
Someragscompete
Theintimatelandscape
Thesunslantingthroughthecracks
Welcomestheowner
Aftertwelvehoursofslave
Labour
Breakingrock
Shiftingrock
Fairweather
Wetweather
Breakingrock
Shiftingrock
Oldagecomesearly
Amatondarknights
Isenoughwhenhedies
Gratefully
Ofhunger
ByAugustineneto.
1.Explaintwothemesdiscussedinthepoem.
Exploitation-manworksallhislife–e.g.“Breakingrock.Shiftingrockyetallcanshow
foritistinnedhouse,earlydeathanddiesofhunger
Desperation/AbjectPoverty–somepartsofthehousearecompletedwithrags.He
diesofhunger.
2.Commentontheeffectofrepetitioninthispoem.
Emphasizesonthethemeofsuffering/slavery
e.g. Breakingrock
Shiftingrock
Effect– createsrhythm
Assistsinmemorability
Createsmusicality
3.Explainthemeaningofthefollowinglines
i.oldagecomesearly
Thepersonhassufferedsomuchthatheagesfaster
ii.Whenhediesgracefullyofhunger
Thisisironicthatitshowsdeathasarelieffortheproblemshehasbeengoingthrough
areover.
4.Enumeratethedemeritsofthekindofworkthe‘he’ofthepoem does
“He”isoverworked
Hecan’taffordadecenthouse
Suffershunger
Agesquickly
Diesearly
5.Whatisthepersona’sattitudetowardsthe‘he’ofthepoem?
– Thepersonahasasympathetic/piteousattitude
– Seesthemansufferingfroexample,thelivingconditions,hungertheworkthat
makeshim agefaster,-oldagecomesearly’’
6.Discusstheironyinthepoem
Thetitleisirony/satirical
– Westerncivilizationisexpectedtobringpositivedevelopmentbutithasbrought
miseryandslavery.
– Civilizedsocietyshouldhavenoslavery=hoursofslavelabour’

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here