The two poems that I have chosen to analyse are 'Blessing' by Imtiaz Dharker and 'An Old Woman' written by Arun Kolatkar.

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Poetry from other Cultures

Question 2

Culture means the beliefs, traditions, and customs of people within a society. Fundamental aspects of a culture are faith, values, and history. People that share a culture also share its beliefs and ways of life, which are different to others. Poetry is an effective way of describing and exploring a culture, and events within it, because certain aspects can be expressed with vivid descriptions, and imagery that would be unsuitable in other types of text. Some cultures have also used poetry as a form of storytelling, describing events that happened to their ancestors, or even themselves. Poems can be concise and leave some details to the imagination of the reader, therefore they are easier to remember, and remain in the readers mind for longer, which makes them more memorable.

The two poems that I have chosen are ‘Blessing’ by Imtiaz Dharker and ‘An Old Woman’ written by Arun Kolatkar. I selected these poems because they are both set in poor, third-world countries, and the people within their communities value so strongly items that are take for granted in developed countries. In ‘An Old Woman’, a beggar woman is trying desperately to get 'a fifty paise coin', which is equivalent to less than 1 pence, off a tourist. This amount of money is frequently, and carelessly dropped on the floor without a second glance, in countries such as our own, yet in India an elderly woman needs this to survive. In 'Blessing' water is  highly valued, and every drop is precious because their community is so short of such a substance. However, people in our, more developed, communities use it as though it will never run out.

'Blessing', is set in a small community of a third world country, and the main theme is the value of water, and important and sacred it is to the people in this community. Water is described as being sacred and is referred to as a 'sudden rush of fortune' when the pipe bursts, showering the residents with it's contents. The poem is also related to religion, with references to 'a kindly god' and the 'blessing' that it brings, and it is also based on poverty, community, and celebration.

The poem opens with a strong statement in the first line. 'The skin cracks like a pod'. This uses a simile to describes the hard, dirty, dusty ground cracking open from lack of water, by comparing it to the very different image of a ripe, luscious green pea pod splitting open to reveal its moist, juicy contents. Onomatopoeia is used in 'crack' to emphasise the meaning and make the descriptions seem real. The second line, 'There is never enough water' tells the reader that it is obviously in a place of poverty, or where the weather is always very hot. The second stanza has a very different tone to the direct, strong opening. It is soft, and gentle and describes 'the small splash' of water which is so rare to the town and community within it. The metaphor in lines 4-6 describes the water's 'echo in a tin mug' as sounding like 'the voice of a kindly god', this helps the reader to visualise small drops of water splashing into a mug, producing a sound almost like a god softly whispering.

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In the third stanza 'The municipal pipe bursts...' and because they are so short of water, this is described as 'the sudden rush of fortune' and they suddenly feel so lucky that they have this precious substance. The poet writes how 'From huts, a congregation; every man woman child for streets around butts in, with pots, brass, copper, aluminium, plastic buckets, frantic hands...' this expresses further the poverty and the shortage of water by describing how everyone, no matter who they are, is needed to help gather the silver blessing. In this quote the word 'congregation' is used, this shows ...

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