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AFRICA: (BY DAVID MANDESSI DIOP (1927 – 1960)
Mandessi was born in Bordeaux, France by a Senegalese father and a Cameroonian mother. He was one of the leading lights of Negritude. He published only one book of poetry on which his fame rests. After the independence of Guinea, he went to work there as teacher. He died in a plane crash in 1960 together with his wife. The manuscript of his new book of poetry was also lost in the crash.
 AFRICA
Africa my Africa
Africa of proud warriors in ancestral savannahs
Africa of whom my grandmother sings
On the banks of the distant river
I have never known you
But your blood flows in my veins

Your beautiful black blood that irrigates the fields
The blood of your sweat
The sweat of your work
The work of your slavery
The slavery of your children
Africa tell me Africa
Is this your back that is bent?
This back that breaks under the weight of humiliation
This back trembling with red scars
And saying yes to the whip under the midday sun
But a grave voice answers me
Impetuous son that three young and strong

That tree there
In splendid loneliness amidst white and faded flowers
That is Africa your Africa
That grows again patiently obstinately
And its fruit gradually acquire
The bitter taste of liberty

 GENERAL CONTENT OF THE POEM
The poem is about a person who has lived away from his continent (Africa) therefore he does not know it well.
The person laments about suffering of Africans who works like slave and their blood and sweat plus those of their children irrigate the fields. The person compares Africa with an impressive lonely tee in the middle of the white and fade fowlers. The tree(Africa) has produced fruit which has gradually acquired the test of Liberty
THEMES
  1. EXPLOITTION
     The persona portrays the exploitation done to the Africans who was treated like slaves because they worked and sweated for their masters to enjoy. For instance in stanza two
     “your beautiful……………………

         The message we get from this poem is that

         All forms of exploitation should be banned in the society
  1. UNITY
We see the essence of unity as the oppressed Africans who decide to mobilize themselves and form the warriors in order to fight for the liberation of their continent for instance in 1st stanza the 2nd verse the persona says
“Africa of proud warriors in ancestral savannahs. The message is that, unity is important to the oppressed so as to end oppression in the society
  1. DEHUMANIZATION
The personal shows humiliation to Africans as the Africans were treated as if they are not human. While they are in their own continent. For example in 3rd stanza verse 1,2,3 and the person says,
         “ is this your back that is bent?

            This back that breaks under the weight of humiliation.

            This back trembling with red scars,

            and saying yes to the whip under the midday Sun".
  The message from this theme is that, all people are the same under. The sun so they deserve equal treatment
  1. AWARENESS
       This show that the person has realized that though he was not born and grew in Africa still he is an Africa because of the African blood which flows in his vein. As we observe it
        in 1st stanza, 5th and 6th verses. The message we get is, "we need to be aware and proud of our origin".
  1. SACRIFICE
The poet shows sacrifice made by African warriors who were whipped and shed their blood in ancestral savannahs, the savannah where their blood irrigated the fields but they never give up the fight. We observe this in 1st stanza the 2nd verse.
The message we get,
“we need to sacrifice ourselves for the betterment of the society".
  1. ALIENATION
The poet shows alienation of those who were born and live in foreign countries like the poet himself so these people who are born and grow in Diaspora they find themselves alienated because they do not enjoy the way indigenous do in their home countries in 1st stanza the 5th verse the personal says
“I have never known you”
In this verse we see that the poet he could know his place of his origin and enjoy his home land as the whites do in their home land.
      The message from this theme is that “people should remember their place of origin even if they are born and grow in other places which are not the place of their origin".
  1. LIBERATION STRUGGLE
In this poem we see movement done by the African warriors so as to get rid of the colonial regime. For instance in 4th stanza the last four verses the person says
    “That is Africa your Africa
             That grows again patiently obstinately

             and its fruit gradually acquire the bitter test of Liberty”
The message from this theme is that, “mobilization, self-sacrifice and until are very important when struggling for liberation in any societ
POETIC DEVICES
                                              Sound devices
                               i.            ALLITERATION
This is the repetition of consonant sounds at the beginning of the words in the same verse. For example in the 2nd stanza the 1st verse
         “your beautiful black blood………. “Also in 3rd stanza the 1st verses
“Is this your back that is bent?
         This back that breaks under the weight of humiliation”
                            ii.            CONSONANCE
This is when the poet decides to repeat the same or very similar consonant sounds usually at the end of words in the same verse
“Impetuous son that tree young and strong
  The sound/Å‹/ is repeated in two words
                          iii.            ASSONANCE
This is the repetition of similar vowel sounds in the same verse. For example the 1st stanza verse 4 in the words “distance” and “on the banks of the distance river”
SENSE DEVICES
  1. SYMBOLISM
The poet uses the words like “red scars to symbolize suffering (oppression which is done to Africans. The 3rd stanza verse 3)
“this back trembling with red scars”
  1. USE OF IMAGERY
Visual image where we see the poet use lonely tree represent Africa
  Image of taste, the poet use words like

“the bitter taste of Liberty” this show this reflects the bitter feeling that African warriors had against the colonialist. For instance the last stanza in the last verse
  1. PERSONIFICATION
Africa as a continent is given human character as it seems that the continent speaks like a human being for example in the 2nd stanza the last verse the persona says
“Africa tell me Africa”
Mood of the poem
The mood of the poem can be sad or sympathetic due to exploitation, humiliation, oppression etc done by the colonialists
Tone of the poet
      The tone is bitter this is due to the fact that the themes revealed tell about the condition of the oppressed Africa.


THE DYING CHILD  (BY FREEMAN PETER LWANDA )
A Tanzania poet who worked for the Tanzania Tourist Corporation
 The Dying, Child
 Thin and red,
 Skinny and bald
 The boy groans on the ground
 Swollen stomach
 Full of waste,
 Thin arms,
 Twitch
 As the boy
 Fights with files
 Over the empty plate.
 Ten years old
He looks older than ten,
And so small
As he wriggles
Prisoner
Of his unproportioned body,
 ‘Mother’ shouted the boy
 When I grow up
 I will carry a gun
 And not a pen!
 ‘My son’ shouted the mother
 ‘My son” cries the mother
 ‘You will never live to carry a gun
 There is no meat for us
GENERAL CONTENT OF THE POEM
The poem is about a ten year boy who suffers from Kwashiorkor caused by Malnutrition, where we see the boy is busy fighting with flies over the empty plate. The boy is thin. Bald red skin, has thing leg and arms .
The boy has swollen stomach which is full of waste which makes the boy groans on the ground because of his imbalanced/proportioned body
We see the boy who is ten years old but he looks older than his real age. The boy has vagence mind hence he tells his mother that when he grows up he will carry a gun and not a pen but the mother shouts to her boy that he will never live to carry a gun as there is no meat for him to make him survive. This shows that the mother is disillusioned.
THEMES
  1. Poverty
The persona shows that the boy is living in extreme poverty to an extent that they cannot afford to buy a balanced diet. The mother tells the boy that he will never live to carry a gun as there is no meat for them. As in stanza two, verses 14 & 16th . he says,
      “ you will never live to carry a gun
       there is no meat for us”
Also we see the boy is busy competing with the flies over the empty plate. All these are the indicators of poverty. As it is shown in 1st stanza the 10th and 11th verses
“the message we get from this is that, "people should work very hard so as to get enough money to buy balanced diet for healthy of our families”
  1. Classes
In this poem we see that the poet depicts the existence of classes in the society. That is the people who can afford to eat meat. In the 2rd stanza the 15th and 16th verses the mother tells her son that he will never grow up to carry a gun because there is no meat for them “ you will never live to carry a gun there is no meat for us”
The message from the above theme is that, every human being has to eat a balanced diet for good health and longer life. Also classes are not good in the society as they may cause disunity among people within the society
  1. Disappointment
In this poem we see the essence of disappointment as we observe this through the mother who tells her son that he will never live to carry a gun this shows that the mother is disappointed hence she believes that her son will not live longer as they are eating unbalanced diet. In the 2nd stanza the 12th, 13th, 14th and 15th verses.
The message we obtain here is that, “we should never accept failure in our lives instead we should fight to the last minute
  1. Awareness
We see that the boy has realized that changes in the society can be brought through the use of gun or by force and not peacefully means or education for example in the 2nd stanza, the 8th, 9th and 10th verses.
Also the awareness of the mother that her only son can not live to carry a gun be he will not live longer.
  1. Irresponsibility
The poet shows irresponsibility of the government which does not show any concern to those people who live under extreme poverty. Hence the citizen are living hopelessly for instance the mother who cries bitterly to her dying son. As we see in 2nd stanza 14-16verses. Also we see irresponsibility show by the mother as she lives her son to fight with flies over the empty plate as in 1st stanza verse 9th up to 10th
“fights with flies over the empty plate”
This is irresponsibility because the mother knows very well the effects of eating with flies
POETIC DEVICES
SENSE DEVICES
Imagery: The poet draws the mental picture so that we see the dying child as the son has thin arms swollen stomach, thin leg and has unproportioned body also we see the image of the groaning and staving child who is fighting with flies over the empty plate due to shortage of food as a result of his poor family
Diction
The choice and arrangement of words in a poem in this poem we see that the poet is real struggling to use words which will effectively convey what the intended to the society, so while reading any poem one need to be very keen in making sense of the words used as they both have exactly meaning and connotations. For example words like “skinny”, “bald” “thin” swollen stomach, “flies” and “pen” they are all used in associate meaning. For example from the poem the word “flies” in the 1st stanza the 9th stanza associate with dirty or rotten
  • Also the word skinny in the 2nd verse 1st stanza associate with hunger/malnutrition/starring etc
  • The word “bald” in the 1st stanza 2nd verse associate with absence of balanced diet
  • The world “pen” in the 2nd stanza the 11 verse associate with learning /knowledge
  • Again the word prisoner in the 2nd stanza the 6th verse associates with absence of freedom/presence of suffering/torture and many other word in the poem.
SOUND DEVICES
Alliteration
In the 1st stanza the 3rd verse the words “groans” and ground the consonant/g/is repeated. Therefore alliteration is used to show emphasis but also create the rhythm of the poem
‘the boy groans on the ground’
In the 1st stanza the 4th verse the word “swollen “and “stomach” also alliterate because they both begin with consonant sound/s/ This repetition is made intentionally to emphasize the concept of poverty, malnutrition and the suffering of the boy
swollen stomach
STRUCTURAL DEVICES
Use of stanza
The poem has two stanza. The 1st stanza has 11 verses and the 2rd stanza has 15 verses
Parallelism
In 2nd stanza the 13th and 14th verse are parallel
The verses have similar structure to emphasize the disappointment of the mother who sees the suffering of her dying child
     “my son, shouted the mother

      My son cries the mother”
Repetition
The word “thin is repeated in the 1st stanza in the 1st, 6th and 7th verses to express the horrible condition of the boy. This repetition helps the poet to evoke the feeling of sympathy towards the referred boy
       “Thin and red...
        Thin leg
        Thin arms"
Dialogue
The poet uses the dialogue between the boy and the mother, this is made to reveal the real situation of the mother and his son. As we see in the 2nd stanza, the 8th , 9th, 10th, 11th, 13th and 15th verses the poet says
      “ Mother, shouted the boy
        When I grow up
        I will carry a gun
        And not a pen!
       “my son, shouted the mother

        my son, cries the mother
      “you will never lie to carry a gun

       there is no meat for us”







An African Thunderstorm (by David Rubadiri)
From the west
Clouds come hurrying with the wind
Turning sharply
Here and there
Like a plague of locusts
Whirling,
Tossing up things on its tail
Like a madman chasing nothing.

Pregnant clouds
Ride stately on its back,
Gathering to perch on hills
Like sinister dark wings;
The wind whistles by
And trees bend to let it pass.

In the village
Screams of delighted children,
Toss and turn
In the din of the whirling wind,
Women,
Babies clinging on their backs
Dart about
In and out
Madly;
The wind whistles by
Whilst trees bend to let it pass.

Clothes wave like tattered flags
Flying off
To expose dangling breasts
As jagged blinding flashes
Rumble, tremble and crack
Amidst the smell of fired smoke
And the pelting march of the storm
What is the poem about?
The poem is about the incoming of a certain situation in a village, suddenly and out of nowhere   living the people shocked as they wonder about.
-  Identify  the instances of Alliteration
In  the second stanza, the 5th line “wind whistles”  in the third stanza the 4th line “whirling wind”  in the third stanza the 4th line “whirling wind” in the 2nd  line of the 4th  stanza “wind whistles”  2nd line of the 1st stanza clouds come.
-   Explain the effect of onomatopoeia
Being words which imitate sounds produced by an action, onomatopoeia in this poem occurs “whirling wind” (3rd stanza 4th line) the effect of it is that is emphasized on that is been told and it enhances imagination at large tremble, Rumple....
-   Identify and explain the  use of imagery
Imagery in the poem is greatly used to explain the incoming of the storm which is said to be hurrying with the wind, here and there like a plague of locusts showing its speed like a mad man chasing nothing its direction.
“Pregnant clouds” showing the shape of the clouds which are likely to be heavy and ready to release its weight anytime. “Clothes wave like tattered flags expressing” expressing the situation of the women’s clothes due to the wind direction.
-   Show and explain the significance of personification in the poem
Personification refers to the process of giving non- human beings human traits. In the poem “pregnant clouds” (2nd  stanza,1st line) clouds are said to be pregnant representing  their current state of expansion.
The significance of personification in the poem is that it brings a dramatic expression and makes the poem interesting to convey the mood of any kind meant by the poet. Also personification makes it easy to relate (the poet idea and the object personified).
  1. Comment on the structure of poem
The structure of the poem involves four stanzas each with a different number of lines, 1st stanza has nine lines, six lines for the second, eleven for the third and seven for the fourth.
The lines are of different sizes arranged in any irregular manner. Without a rhyme scheme. The poem is likely to follow modern way for writing poems.
7.      Explain the use the similes
Similes refer to a figure of speech that involves comparing of two dissimilar things using the words like or as. In the poem similes are found
Here and there “like a plague of locusts this is meant to express the movements direction of the wind as it approaches the village.
       clothes wave like tattered flags this represents the situation of the women’s clothes due to the winds showing how they were humiliated.
    8.  Why do mothers hurry in and out?
Due to the fear they have because of the approaching storm, the wind and noise of thunder. What could possibly happen to them and their children? 
  1. Why do the children cry with delight?
Children are naturally always pleased to experience something interesting, the wind, and thunder was thought to be of great pleasure to them so they cry with delight, there not aware of the danger.
10. Explain the deeper meaning of the poem
The poem is about the incoming of colonialism in Africa from the west “clouds come hurrying with the wind”, this represent the colonialists rushing to Africa for their needs such as raw materials market and land. Turning sharply her and there like a plague of locusts. His involves the great number or influx of the colonialists in Africa, like a madman chasing nothing, knowing the potentials of the territory.
"Pregnant clouds”, the colonialists are seen to be excited and and ready to exploit any chance they get in Africa. The whole second stanza show how determined they were and also proved to the evil “like dark sinister wings” wind whistles by using  force and measures such as congest land alienation forced labour and others for the aim of getting what they want.
The third stanza  explains the reaction of the nature  of native of Africa to the incoming situation, that is colonialism filed with fear, women dart about in and  their  children  screaming with delight, the fact that they are more or less pleased to see and experience new  people and probably new rules in their villages. There said to move madly posing confusion among them toward the situation
 In the whole situation, the last stanza shows how colonialism exploited and humiliated African clothes wave like tattered flags due to the wind which in this case is colonialism. They were put under poor working conditions as slaves paid low wages and more.
  1. Paraphrase the poem
The  poem an African thunderstorm entails  of the coming of a storm in a village, originating from the west coming in a hurry up and down, here and there, the  wind whirls and is said to move like a madman chasing nothing because its fast and moves randomly.
 Clouds during the storm filled up and ready to rain gather  around, the wind blows making  trees bend, In the village, children scream with pleasure as their mothers are filled with fear they move in and  out. Their clothes are blown by the wind exposing their bodies’ flashes of thunder strike.
  1.   Assonance, identify and comment on the use repetition of value sounds without regard to the preceded consonant sounds. Eg. Here and There
13.  Consonance, show and comment on its use final consonant sounds are agreed but the vowels that precede them differ.
E.g.  ........about,..........out  


YOUR PAIN  (by ARMANDO GUEBUZA)
Your pain
Yet more my pain
Shall suffocate oppression
Your eyes
Yet more my eyes
Shall be speaking of revolt

Your scars
Yet more my scars
Will be remembering the whip
 
My hands
Yet more your hands
Will be lifted fully armed
My strength
Yet more you strength
Shall overcome imperialism
My blood
Yet more your blood
Shall irrigate our victory

ABOUT THE POEM
Your pain is the poem which was written during the struggle for independence.It was written by the present President of Mozambique (Armando Guebuza).
The little of the poem matches with the content of the poem as we see the persona encourage other members of the society to take action/part in the struggle for liberation. The pain that the persona repeats every time is the commitment that he asks this fellows so that their straggle can be successful.
The type of the poem
This poem is didactic as it gives instructions to the reader. The poem teaches readers what to do so as to win in their struggle.
The language in the poem
Armand Guebaza has used the standard and understood language as the choice of words match with the content of the poem.
He has also used some figures of speech as follow
·         Personification
This has been used for artistic affect of the poem as we see that the inanimate things have given attributes to act as human being. The person says
“Say your pain......
Shall suffocate appression”
Also in 3rd stanza
“Your sears
Yet more sears
Will be remembering the whip”
So scars have been given the ability to act as human being
·         Symbolism
This poem is full of symbols
Scars symbolize suffering/ humiliation
Hands/strength symbolize unity.
Blood is symbolize sacrifice.
Repetition
This is done for the purpose of showing emphasis to what the poet is trying to communicate; in this poem we see the repetition of the phrase
"Yet more......” in very stanza. In this repetition the poet wants to mobilize his kinsmen to offer total commitment for their liberation straggle
Sometimes poet repeats so as to catch the music purposes
Rhyme
The rhyming Patten of the poem is regular to the large extent. The regularity of this poem is when we see the repetition of similar words in first two verses of each stanza

For example.
..............pain
.............. pain
.............. eyes
...............eyes
........ ......scars
         ...............scars etc

So the rhyming pattern of this poem is aab, ccd, cce
Due to this pattern, the poem sounds very musical.
Alliteration
We see alliteration in this poem as we observe the repetition of similar consonant sounds in one verse at the beginning of word. For instance
“Your pain
Yet more my pain”
If you observe the poem you will realize that the consonant sound/m/is repeated. This also catch the musical feature of the poem.
POSSIBLE THEMES
There are many issues talked in the poem,some of them are as follow
·         Rising awareness/consciousness
The poet rises awareness to his follows by revealing the real situation in which they are. The poet makes, his people aware of the situation so that they can take action hence succeed in their fighting. As we read in the second stanza,
“Your eyes
Yet more my eyes
Shall be speaking of revolt”
Here the poet wants his fellow to open their eyes and see the real situation and by seeing them they can be away of what is prevailing.
·         Lack of humanity
In this poem we see words likes “scars” and "whip" which gives the evidence that there is humiliation. These words show that people were whipped as if they are animal hence experienced severe pain. This situation angers the persona and that is why he decides to mobilize his fellows to fight against humiliation. This can be proved form the following verses,
“Yours scars
Yet more my scars
Will be remembering the whip”
This is the indicator of inhumanity and torture the people experienced.
·         Oppression
In the first stanza we see the essence of oppression as the person says.
“Your pain
Yet more my pain
Shall suffocate oppression”
This stanza shows that people are oppressed so now they want to start the movement against oppression.
·         Struggle against imperialism
We see the issue of imperialism as in stanza five the personal says;
“My strength
Yet more your strength

shall overcome imperialism “
In this we observe that the persona wants his people to come together and unite so that they can uproot imperialism or colonialism.
·         Sacrifice
This is another issue we get from this poem as the personal want this people to sacrifice themselves for their freedom. In the last stanza the poet says
“My blood
Yet more your blood
Shall irrigate our victory “
The relevance of the poem
The poem still relevant to our country today as we still need unity among us so that we can reach our goals. For instance we need unity so that we can boost our economy; we also need freedom against neo-colonialism. There are good number of problems that we have in our society today which real need cooperation among us so that we overcome them.

EAT MORE by Joe Corrie
Eat more fruit, the slogan say
More fish, more beef, more bread
But I’m on unemployment pay
My third year now and wed.

And also I wonder when I see
The slogan when I pass
The only one that would suit me
Eat more bloody grass.

CRITICAL CRITICISM
  1. Who speaks in the poem?
ü  The one who speaks in this poem is the active persona who is directly affected by unemployment and he is complaining about eating balanced diet while he cannot afford it due to his poor financial position.
  1. What is the tone/mood/attitude of the speaker?
ü  The persona’s tone/mood/attitude is sadness/angry (anger) and seriousness because he is complaining on the situation of unemployment that makes him to fail to afford eating balanced diet.
  1. How the poem is organized (structured)?
ü  The poem is organized into two stanzas with four verses in each stanza.
  1. Comment on the Language use
ü  The Language used in a poem is ordinary or standard Language because it uses the common words. Also it follows the grammatical rules like punctuation.
However, there is the use of figurative language which include the following;
o   Imagery; this can be depicted by the description of the slogan as well the diet contents specifically in the first stanza.
o   Figures of speech; there is a lot of figures of speech depicted in this poem, and they include;
*      Symbolism e.g. “bloody grass” to symbolize the lower class (poor) and “fish, beef and bread” to symbolize the upper class in the society (rich) as well as the balanced diet.
*       Personification; this is vividly at the first verse of the first stanza as the poet says;
“Eat more fruit, the slogan says
More fish, more beef, more bread”
  1. What is the content/general idea/topic of the poem?
ü  The general idea/content of the poem is unemployment which results to poverty, exploitation, protest, conflict etc.
  1. What are the poetic features used in this poem?
ü  Different poetic features used in this poem, they include the following;
o   Rhyme; the rhymes used are; “abab” rhyming scheme in the in the first stanza and “cdcd” rhymes in the second stanza/last stanza.
o   Repetition of similar sounds e.g.
*      Alliteration “m” and “b” in the second verse of the first stanza
More fish, more beef, more bread
*      Reiteration; eat, more, slogan.
*      Consonance; e.g. “d” in the second and fourth stanza of the first stanza;
                     “Eat more fruit, the slogan say
                                                           More fish, more beef, more bread
                                                          But I’m on unemployment pay
                                                           My third year now and wed.”
o   Assonance;  this is seen in the second verse of the first stanza as shown below;
                     “Eat more fruit, the slogan say
                                                         More fish, more beef, more bread
                     -------------------------------------- ”
 
  1. What is the type of this poem?
ü  It is a lyric poem which is short and expresses strong feelings/ideas of a persona.
  1. Is the poem relevant to your contemporary society?
ü  The poem is so relevant to our contemporary society as in most cases people in power insist the implementation of different slogans without even considering their affordability to the common people.


IF WE MUST DIE By Claude Mckay
If we must die, let it not be like hogs,
Hunted and penned in an inglorious spot,
While round us bark the mad and hungry dogs,
Making their mock at our accursed lot.
If we must die-oh let us nobly die,
So that our precious blood may not be shed
In vain: Then even the monster we defy,
Shall be constrained to honour us though dead!
Oh Kinsmen! We must meet the common foe;
Though outnumbered, let us show our brave,
And for their thousand blows, one death blow,
What though before us lies the open grave?
Like men we’ll face the murderous cowardly pack,
Pressed to the wall, dying but fighting back.

CRITICAL CRITICISM
i.        What is the general content/theme of this poem?
ü  The general idea/content of this poem is an encouragement about dying with a purpose like while struggling rather than waiting for death like animals/hogs.
ii.      Who is the persona in this poem?
ü  The persona in this poem is among those members who are oppressed by the ruling class (slave masters) as he expresses his strong feelings of encouragement. He likes dying in the process of fighting back the oppressors as the condition he assumes to be as even the title of the poem is a conditional or conditional clause.
iii.    What is the type of this poem?
ü  The type of this poem is a lyric poem specifically a sonnet that is used as a didactic as it gives instructions on what should be done by the oppressed so as to overcome the situation of being penned as animals/hogs.
iv.    What is the tone/mood/attitude of the persona in this poem?
ü  The tone/mood/attitude of the persona in this poem is serious as he encourages his fellow oppressed members to fight back seriously so as to overcome the miserable condition they are in.
v.      How is this poem structured/formed?
ü  The structure of this poem is formal (traditional one) in an iambic pentameter with four stanzas using the quatrain style (four verses) in the first three stanzas and couplet (two verses) in the fourth/last stanza.
vi.    Comment on the Language use in this poem.
ü  The poet uses almost Standard English language as it is grammatically correct though there is a good choice of words which acquire additional meanings. Also barbarism is depicted due to the use of a word accursed which is found at the fourth verse of the first stanza as the persona says;
                                       “If we must die, let it not be like hogs,
                                        Hunted and penned in an inglorious spot,
                                        While round us bark the mad and hungry dogs,
                                        Making their mock at our accursed lot.”
vii.  What are the poetic devices/features found in this poem?
ü  Different poetic devices has been used in this poem and they include the following;
o   Rhythm has been depicted throughout the poem. Additionally, rhyming schemes are used as the poem is rhymed by “abab” in the first stanza, “cdcd” in the second stanza, “efef” and “gg” in the fourth/last stanza.
o   Repetition of similar sounds which include;
*      Consonance; this is vividly in the first stanza as consonant sounds like “s” and “t” are repeated at the end of the verses as;
“If we must die, let it not be like hogs,
 Hunted and penned in an inglorious spot,
 While round us bark the mad and hungry dogs,
 Making their mock at our accursed lot.”
*      Reiteration for example the word “if” has been repeated several times throughout the poem.
Parallelism for example the repetition of a phrase “if we must die” in the first verse of the first stanza and in the first verse of the second stanza, where a persona says;
                                             “If we must die-let it nit be like hogs
                                               Hunted and penned in an inglorious spot
                                               ----------------------------------------------
                                               If we must die-oh let us nobly die!
*      Alliteration
Additionally, different figures of speech are used in this poem, some of which are as discussed below;
  • Simile; this has been used where a persona tries to compare their death with that of dogs. It is evident in the first verse of the first stanza as a persona says;
                                     “If we must die, let it not be like hogs,
                                      Hunted and penned in an inglorious spot,
                                      While round us bark the mad and hungry dogs,
                                      Making their mock at our accursed lot.”


BALLAD OF THE LANDLORD
 by Langston Hughes

Landlord, Landlord
My roof has sprung a leak
Don’t you remember I told you about it
Way last week?
Landlord, Landlord
These steps is broken down
When you come up yourself
It’s a wonder you don’t fall down

Ten bucks you say I owe you?
Ten bucks you say is due?
Well, that’s ten bucks more n I’ll pay you
Till you fix this house up new.

What? You gonna get eviction order
You gonna cut-off my head?
You gonna take my furniture and
Throw it in the street?

Un-huh! You talking high and mighty
Talk on-till you get through
You won’t gonna be able to say a word
If I land my fist on you.

Police! Police!
Come and get this man!
He’s trying to ruin the government
And overturn the land.

Copper’s whistle!
Patrol ball!
Arrest.
Princit station
Iron cell.

Headlines in press:
Man threatens landlord
Tenant held no bail
Judge gives Negro 90 days in county jail.
CRITICAL CRITICISM
  1. What is the general content/theme of this poem?
ü  The poem is talking about racial prejudices and social injustices in American society, perhaps.
  1. To what type is this poem belongs?
ü  The type of the poem is a ballad as it involves more than one self in conversation, i.e. conversation between the tenant and the Landlord.
  1. What is the tone/mood/attitude of the persona?
ü   The tone/mood/attitude of the persona is harsh because of his anger and hatred to the/towards the landlord. It is also a serious tone because of the situation the Negro face.
  1. Who speaks in this poem?
ü  The persona/speaker in this poem is the one who is directly affected by the existing miseries in his society, i.e. social injustices and racial prejudices as the poem suggests.
  1. Comment on the poetic devices/features used in this poem.
ü  Different poetic devices has been employed in this poem and they include the following;
                                                                                                           
o   Rhetorical query for example in the fourth stanza where the tenant asks;

“What? You gonna get eviction order
 You gonna cut-off my head?
 You gonna take my furniture and
 Throw it in the street?
o   Repetition of sounds including;
*      Parallelism like the use of a phrase “ten bucks” in the third stanza.
*      Reiteration as words like Landlord, gonna and police are repeated several times throughout the poem.
*      Alliteration for example the use of consonant “L” in the first and second stanza where a persona sys;
                                                            “Landlord, landlord
                                                              My roof has sprung a leak
 And “g” in the fourth stanza where a persona says;
              “What? You gonna get eviction order
                You gonna cut-off my head?
*      Consonance e.g. constant sounds like “k” in the first stanza as the tenant says;

                                                “Landlord, Landlord
                                                 My roof has sprung a leak
                                                 Don’t you remember I told you about it
                                                 Way last week?
Also the constant sound “n” in the second stanza where a tenant adds;

                                                             “Landlord, Landlord
                                                              These steps is broken down
                                                              When you come up yourself
                                                               It’s a wonder you don’t fall down

*      Rhythm also can be detected throughout the poem.

  1. Comment on the language use in this poem.
ü  The language (diction) used in the poem is almost colloquial language/informal and it is spoken by the lower/common people like Negroes in USA, it is evidently by the use of informal words like gonna and ungrammatical sentences. Also there is a little use of formal language and it is used by the Landlord in the poem to represent the people of upper class. For example in the seventh stanza where the Landlord says;
                                 “Police! Police!
                                  Come and get this man!
                                  He’s trying to ruin the government
             And overturn the land”.
This stanza is grammatically correct compared to the previous one spoken by the tenant.


MERRY-GO-ROUND
(by Langston Hughes)
Coloured child at Carnival,
Where is the Jim Crow section,
On this Merry-go-round,
Mister, cause I want to ride?
Down south where I come from,
White and coloured,
Can’t sit side by side,
Down south on the train.
There is a Jim-crow car,
On the bus we’re put in the back,
But there ain’t no back,
To a Merry-go-round!
Where is the horse
For a kid that’s black!

CRITICAL CRITICISM
  1. What is the type of this poem?
ü  This poem belongs to sonnet category of poem as it contains fourteen free verses.
  1. Who speaks in this poem?
ü  The persona who speaks in this poem is the one who might be directly affected by the existing situation of racial discrimination and segregation which was practiced in American society and South Africa in the previous days.
  1. What is the topic of discussion in this poem?
ü  The main idea/topic of discussion in this poem is about racial discrimination and segregation in the former American and South African society where black people were considered as the inferior class all over the world.
  1. What is the tone of the persona?
ü  The tone of the persona is almost bitter due to the existing situation. Also it is as sadness that’s why he/she wants to ride back where he/she comes from.
  1. Comment on the poetic features used in this poem.
ü  Various poetic features have been employed in this poem and they include the following;
o   Repetition of  sounds such as;
*      Alliteration such as the use of  “c” in the first verse of the first stanza where a persona asserts;
                “Coloured child at Carnival,
                 Where is the Jim Crow section,
                 On this Merry-go-round,
                  Mister, cause I want to ride?
 And “b” in the third verse of the fourth/last stanza as a persona says;
                                                               But there ain’t no back,
                                                               To a Merry-go-round!
                                                               Where is the horse
                                                               For a kid that’s black!
*      Assonance e.g. “I” in the second verse of the first stanza where the persona says;
            “Coloured child at Carnival,
             Where is the Jim Crow section,
              On this Merry-go-round,
              Mister, cause I want to ride?
*      Consonance  e.g. “d” and “k”

 
  1. Comment on the language used in this poem.
ü  The language/diction employed in this poem is almost ordinary Standard English language due to the use of grammatical rules, however there is a little use of contractions. Additionally, there is a little use of figurative Language as there is;
o   Symbolism such as’
*      Merry-go-round” to symbolize an action of doing away with racial segregation.
*      Jim-crow to symbolize the neglected class of blacks.


CRITICISE YOURSELF POEMS FROM SELECTED POEMS
Test your ability on poems by making a critical analysis on each of the following poems;
MADAM AND THE RENT MAN by Langston Hughes
The rent man knocked.
He said, Hwdy-do?
I said, What
Can I do for you?
He said, You know
Your rent is due.

I said, Listen,
Before I’d pay
I’d go to Hades
And rot away!

The sink is broken,
The water don’t run,
And you ain’t done a thing
You promised to’ve done.

Back window’s cracked,
Kitchen floor squeaks,
There’s rats in the cellar,
And the attic leaks.

He said, Madam,
It’s not up to me,
I’m just the agent,
Don’t you see?

I said, Naturally,
You pass the buck.
If its money you want
You’re out of luck.

He said, Madam,
I ain’t pleased!
I said, Neither am I.
So we agree!

NOZIZWE by Mazisi Kunene
You were to be the centre of our dream
To give life to all that is abandoned
You were to heal the wound
To restore the bones that were broken
But you betrayed us!
You chose a lover from the enemy
You paraded him before us like a sin
You led your clans to the gallows
You shouted our secrets before the little strangers
You mocked the sacred heads of our elders
You parleyed their grey hair before the children
Their lips that hold the ancient truths were sealed
By their sunken eyes your body was cursed
The moving river shall swallow it!

AFRICA by David Diop
Africa my Africa
Africa of proud worriors in ancestral savannahs
Africa of whom my grandmother sings
On the banks of the distant river
I have never known you
But your blood flows in my veins
Your beautiful black blood that irrigates the fields
The blood of your sweat
The sweat of your work
The work of your slavery
Africa, tell me Africa
Is this you back that is bent
This back that never breaks under the weight of humiliation
This back trembling with red scars
And saying no to the whip under the midday sun
But a grave voice answers me
Impetuous child that tree, young and strong
That tree over there
Splendidly alone amidst white and faded flowers
That is your Africa springing up anew
Springing up patiently, obstinately
Whose fruit by bit acquires
The bitter taste of liberty.

WHEN MY LOVE SWEARS THAT SHE IS MADE OF TRUTH
By William Shakespeare
When my love swears that she is made of truth,
I do believe her though I know she lies,
That she might think me some untutor’d youth,
Unlearned in the world’s false subtleties.
Thus vainly thinking that she thinks me young,
Although she knows my days are past the best,
Simply I credit her false speaking tongue:
On both sides thus is simple truth suppress’d.
But wherefore says she not she is unjust?
And wherefore say not I that I am old?
O, love’s best habit is in seeming trust,
And age in love loves not have years told:
Therefore I lie with her and she with me,
And in our faults by lies we fletter’d be.

LET ME NOT TO THE MARRIAGE OF TRUE MINDS
By William Shakespeare
 Let me not to the marriage of true minds,
Admit impediments. Love is not love,
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark,
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth’s, although his height be taken.
Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheecks,
Within his bending sickle’s compass come:
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.


THERE WAS A GIRL by Dennis Brutus
There was a girl
Eight years, they say
her hair in spiky braids
her innocent fist raised in imitation

Afterwards, there was a mass of red
Some torn pieces of meet
and bright rags fluttering:
a girl in a print dress, once, they say.

THE FUNERAL OF MARTIN LUTHER KING Jr. by Nikki Glovanni
His headstone said,
FREE AT LAST, FREE AT LAST,
But death is the slave’s freedom,
We seek the freedom of free men,
And the construction of a world,
Where Martin Luther King could have lived
and preached non-violence.

FRONT LINE by George Shea
Front line
Where manhood and consciousness is tested
The only place to burry persecutions and burden of ages
The only place for declare names immortal
Trust me brother you will not be alone there.

Front line
Where bullets will graze on man and grass
Where man will make his own lightining and thunder
Where the enemy will fall and never to rise
Brother truly my shadow will be near to yours.

Front line
I know it is bitter but I like it
I like it particularly because it is bitter
I like it because it is where I belong
For out of bitterness comes equality, freedom and peace.

I will be in the front-line when the roll is called.
Front line valleys and plains of event and history.

A STRANGE WIND by Timothy Wangusa
A strange wind is blowing, dust fills our eyes;
We turn and walk the unintended way.
We press our sore eyes and reopen them
To expanded horizons, to a new day!
The narrow circle of our cherished experience breaks,
Our trusted gods dissolve and ghosts vanish,
Disembodied voices announce world news,
We see the hidden side of the moon,
The dead man’s eye transfer to the living,
The atom sprits and the songbird croaks,
Economic opposes charity,
Law protects nation shouts, and the big ones brags,
Futile raids cease and global wars commence,
And the rude son strikes the father- a sword!  
POEMS BY RAJABU MPELLA


I CAN’T BE SATAN’S SERVANT.
(By Rajabu Mpella)

I could be an awful pimp,
To sell-off girls’ womanhood cheap,
Disregarding their blood-tear weep
When men dragging their virginity in creep
But I can’t be Satan’s servant.

I could hear a beggar and skip
A biggest gambler Cards to flip
A notorious killer knife to stab deep
To shed blood and sweep
But I can’t be Satan’s servant.

I could mess with girl’s right to left hip
Twenty operation per day never to sleep
My tongue to torture their upper to lower lip
Trigger their innocent emotions to leap
But I can’t be Satan’s servant.

I could beat the weak with a scornful whip
And cool their thirsty with water for drip,
Never to let them take a nap
And proud myself a guy of tiptop
But I can’t be Satan’s servant.

I could  murder and the corpse to wrap,
Pretending innocent before a furious cop,
Attending church and the book of saints to sign up
Hiding my sinful face with sainthood make-up
But I can’t be Satan’s servant.

At work, I could sign attendance and get up
Wandering to the bars, drinking pints of beers and cheer-up
Never to serve the nation, people at my office lined up
Their yawn, my laugh, and pay a blind eye to their weep
But I can’t be Satan’s servant.


A WOMAN OF MISDEEDS
             (By Rajabu Mpella)


They gossip she is less feminine
Acts ruthlessly a woman of more masculine
Hold her marriage with palms of indiscipline
Staring at her husband with eyes of insane.

She is living in the earth of no guideline
Disrespecting her one and only valentine
Ungrateful woman of lion bloodline
Busy writing awful events on her life timeline.

She is abandoning her lifeline
A man who could be her stable membrane
She is full of insults her hubby to undermine
She kisses her man with the mouth of alkaline.


A HARD DAY TO DIE FREE
(By Rajabu Mpella)

A day to drink water of fearlessness
And parade under the big tree of oneness
To make bundles of sacrifices in excess
Burn to ashes an evil sense of distress
A hard day to die free.

A day to merge our jujus of bless
And creating a big magic of powerfulness
Jujus to bewitch our foes’ hardness
Unfold their anxiety and weakness
A hard day to die free.

A day to abandon pains of sleepless
Pains of sleepless we meddle with for years of countless
A day to make them creatures of breathless
And stop their evil deeds with reckless
A hard day to die free.

A beautiful day to die, but enemies powerless
Our siblings will dance in their nightdress
without fear: And sleep well on sweet mattress
Sweet mattress of freedom and oppressionless
A hard day to die free.

A day to end their wickedness
With our double edged swords of lifeless
Embedded with our spirit with awkwardness
A day even infants will laugh in righteousness
A hard day to die free.




BITTERNESS OF MY FIRST LOVE
(By Rajabu Mpella)

My first love was a moonlight to chase darkness
She was a sweet orange to perish bitterness
My only golden happiness to execute sadness
She was only one to make me not hopeless
My first love, my first tear.

She was a wise Queen to call myself great King,
A poor who couldn’t be deceived by shilling
She was something which couldn’t make me nothing
The only one who irrigated my garden of laughing
My first love, my first tear.

My first love, then turned to a monster
A great foe, who hunted my hopes and slaughter
Chased away a wind of happiness and laughter
She swallowed my happiness to bitter
My first love, my first tear.



She became a plaything of men
Wandering from this hotel to that lodge with men
She abandoned her precious quality of woman
And paraded her sense of dignity to evil men
My first love, my first tear.

She fled away, never to see her again
And let me languish with life in vain
My poor heart was swimming in pond of pain
She dared to hold a sword my future to slain
My first love, my first tear.

She stabbed my feelings on the neck
And my feeling couldn’t survive in hands of that heck
She had a monster eyes on my back
My first love, my first tear.


1 Comments

  1. you have done a good job in the analysis of some poems but some areas are not complete analysed that is you did not show the reasons of the techniques used by the poet in their poems. this is because any technique used especially figures of speech there is a reason. take note on that

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