Explore how the poet presents his thoughts and feelings about what is happening in the world around him in “One World Down the Drain” Simon Rae’s “One World Down the Drain” attempts to raise the awareness over the issue of pollution in the world, and the need to take responsibility. Throughout the poem a casual tone is maintained as a blithe statement to attract the reader’s attention and maintain interest, as well as the constant use of monosyllabic words to show the underlying frustration of the poet to the reader.
The title of the poem “One World Drown the Drain” was used by the poet in order to represent the risk of the world going “down the drain”, which the audience can link to the problem of pollution and rising sea levels. The title also makes use the words “down the drain” as a metaphor for people not realising that the problem of pollution is likely to affect them in the future, and is not limited to the countries stated throughout the poem. The poem opens with the casual statement: “It’s goodbye half of Egypt, The Maldives take a dive, And not much more of Bangladesh, Looks likely to survive.”Order now
Demonstrating the use of blithe statements where the poet chooses to use a casual tone in order to draw the reader in, presenting the opening stanza with a similar tone to a song in order to create a positive effect on the reader and encourage them to think about the statements. The locations mentioned have been selected by the poet due to the fact that currently they are the most risk from the effect of rising sea levels due to pollution, and their choice to be used in the opening stanza of the poem is used to give a message to the audience of the immanency of the dangers.
However the dangers are not explicitly stated yet in order to encourage the reader to continue thinking over this issue and as a form of drawing the reader in further. The reference to the countries under threat, such as “It’s goodbye to Egypt” present the countries as a tourist location rather than actual places that are inhabited, used by the poet as a form of criticism for consumerism, where the target audience of the poem is not concerned about pollution.
The poet attempts to establish the negativity of the issue of pollution by bringing the topic to the audience’s own area, suggesting that “Europe too will alter”, in order to raise awareness that the issue is going to affect the audience and not just the countries which are already at risk. The poet attempts to emphasise the importance of the choices that people make by using irony, suggesting to “book flights to Venice now”, despite flight being one of the most polluting forms of transport.
The poet ends the stanza with “Great city. Pity. Ciao”, intending to imitate the opinions of the wider audience who do not understand the importance of the environment, and again in further criticism of consumerism where the areas are seen as a tourist destination rather than an actual inhabited area. The short syllables used by the poet indicate his frustration and attempts to imitate the carelessness of the audience, using short wording in order to represent the “short” thoughts of the audience indicating their lack of care for the issue, as well as using the expression “Ciao” in a mocking tone to mock people’s attitudes.
This is emphasised in the next stanza: “But we don’t care, We wont be there, Our acid greenhouse party”, which states the intended description to the audience, and suggests that the reasoning behind the ignorance is that “We won’t be there”, and that the audience will not be able to feel the results of their own actions. The poet presents his opinion that the world is being damaged by the people who do not consider the consequences of their actions, using a metaphor of “Our acid greenhouse party will carry on”, likening the situation to a party where the participants do not acknowledge the consequences of their actions until they have already happened.
This imitation of carelessness is repeated by the poet using the expression “so bad luck Kiribati”, combining a pitying tone and a mocking tone to further communicate his frustration. In continuation of his frustration, the poet accelerates the situation by explicitly stating the problem, giving the real picture of the situation: “And all the other atolls That sink beneath the seas, The millions who will suffer from Drought, famine and disease.” in order to clearly show the audience the actual realistic consequences and also as proof to the audience that the poet is not complaining over a non-existent issue. The poet continues by using a mocking tone, imitation of the audience’s own thoughts: “The weather map is changing, But what are we to do? Let’s have another conference On the ills of CO2”.
Irony is also used by the poet as it suggests a possible solution is to “have another conference on the ills of CO2”, despite the fact that to send government officials by plane to a conference is already polluting and suggests that the conferences are in fact useless and that nothing will come out of the conferences, ridiculing the government. The use of irony is continued in order to express the concerns of the poet over the actions that people plan to take, and is used in order to indirectly criticise the government whose opinions are imitated as “Do not rock the boat, We’re doing our best”, suggesting that the lack of action taken by the government is due to their interest in trade, and that this has a higher priority than making a change for the future.
The poem ends with “(The future has no vote)”, in order to show the audience that the present actions will affect the future and that it is important to begin taking action now. The poet also chooses to use brackets with this in order to show how the poet believes that this thought has been pushed aside, and left till the end despite the fact that it is important to realise this issue. “One World Down the Drain” attempts to raise awareness over the issue of pollution and encourages the audience to think about their actions and to take responsibility, due to the fact that the actions of the present will affect the future. The poet also uses ridiculing tones and irony as a form of criticism at the government to suggest the government’s lack of care over the issue of the environment and how the issue is becoming more of an afterthought rather than a priority.