Sam Allen English 09/05/07
10LJG Poetry from other Cultures JBT
Imtiaz Dharker’s poem can be interpreted in two ways. One, simplistic reading might suggest that the poem is simply a description of an event when a pipe bursts and people run excitedly for the water.
A deeper reading, however, would see the poem as being less happy and almost disturbing in places due to not just its theme but also its setting and characters. Under the apparent good fortune and excitement of the scene are ideas about the poverty of the people in the poet’s native country. Either way the attitude to water in the poem should make people in western civilisation wonder at how much they all take for granted, and how too often the earth’s resources are wasted.
This is a preview of the whole essay
Dharker paints for the reader a vivid scene using strong imagery. For instance, after opening with a powerful visual image, the poet goes on to make us hear the smallest noise ‘echo/ in a tin mug’, before increasing the sound level with the ‘roar of tongues’ as people descend on the pipe. It is at this time the reader realises the irony in the title ‘Blessing’. The people are not really blessed – they have little water of their own. Only superstition could lead them to count this ‘municipal pipe’ burst as a blessing.
In reality it shows the poor state of the pipes that should be carrying water to the people. The fact that the people live in ‘huts’, that the children are ‘naked’ and that everyone is ‘frantic’ for the water tell us a lot about the living conditions.
The poet uses quite a lot of imagery to create a picture in the reader’s mind. The first line “The skin cracks like a pod” tells us that there is very little water, and that the burst pipe is very lucky for habitants. The line might be a metaphor for the earth, creating an image of land that has a drought problems. The second line reinforces this idea.
The second stanza “Imagine….kindly god” show that the people living in the poem are probably quite religious and the fact that it says “of a kindly god” might mean that the religion they follow believes in multiple Gods, so they might live in somewhere like Africa where these practices are common. This image also makes the reader more aware that the things they take for granted may be more precious in other countries. The first two lines of the third stanza also make it seem that water is very precious in this society.
Lines eleven / twelve “From the huts/ a congregation” gives the impression of an ordered/religious group which reinforces the idea of the god fearing community. Line eighteen “naked children” shows that the community is not embarrassed by nudity and also probably can not afford clothes.
The last two lines shows that the people are happy with the burst pipe and they see it as a ‘blessing’. It also shows that the children are small perhaps because of lack of food, showing a poorer society.
The poet creates a very interesting poem with some darker undertones.
Word count = 517