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Poetry Analysis of: Limbo, Blessing, and Half caste

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Poetry Analysis Coursework Chosen poems: - * Limbo * Blessing * Half caste Edward Kamau Brathwaite: Limbo I have chosen four different poems of which come from varying cultural backgrounds and have a moral. I will now explain how the writers present their ideas and give the readers an insight into different cultures. Limbo is a poem, which shows us the feelings of slaves on slave ships written by Edward Kamau. This poem tells the story of slavery in a rhyming, rhythmic dance. It is ambitious and complex. There are two narratives running in parallel, which are, the actions of the dance, and the history of the people, which is being enacted. The poem shows a lot of repetition of phrases such as 'Limbo Limbo like me, Limbo Limbo like me'. This expresses that the phrase is dominant enough to be said twice. The poem has a very strong beat, suggesting the dance describes: where the word limbo appears as a complete line, it should be spoken slowly, the first syllable extended and both syllables stressed: Lim-bo. ...read more.


Agard ridicules the term by showing how the greatest artists mix things - Picasso mixes the colours, and Tchaikovsky use the black and white keys in his piano symphonies, yet to call their art "half-caste" seems silly. The writer playfully points out how England's weather is always a mix of light and shadow - leading to a very weak pun on "half-caste" and "overcast" (clouded over). The joke about one leg is recalled later in the poem, this time by suggesting that the "half-caste" uses only half of ear and eye, and offers half a hand to shake, leading to the absurdities of dreaming half a dream and casting half a shadow. The poem, like a joke, has a punch line - the poet invites his hearer to "come back tomorrow" and use the whole of eye, ear and mind. Then he will tell "de other half/of my story". There is no formal rhyme scheme or metre, but the poem contains rhymes ("wha yu mean...mix red an green"). A formal device that Agard favours is repetition: "Explain yuself/wha yu mean", for example. ...read more.


But the end of the poem reminds us of the sun, which causes skin to crack "like a pod" - today's blessing is tomorrow's drought. The poet celebrates the joyous sense with which the people, especially the children, come to life when there is, for once, more than "enough water". The poem has a single central metaphor - the giving of water as a "blessing" from a "kindly god". The religious metaphor is repeated, as the bursting of the pipe becomes a "rush of fortune", and the people who come to claim the water are described as a "congregation" (people gathering for worship). The water is a source of other metaphors - fortune is seen as a "rush" (like water rushing out of the burst pipe), and the sound of the flow is matched by that of the people who seek it - their tongues are a "roar", like the gushing water. Most tellingly of all, water is likened to "silver" which "crashes to the ground". The poem is written in unrhymed lines, mostly brief, some of which run on, while others are end-stopped, creating an effect of natural speech. The poet writes lists for the people ("man woman/child") and the vessels they bring ("...with pots/brass, copper, aluminium,/plastic buckets"). ...read more.

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