When we read poems, very few people actually take in the devices used and make sense of the way the poet uses them and still fewer people take the time to decipher why the poet has used that specific device in that specific place. The devises often have hidden meanings, and are used to make the poem flow better. In this essay, I will be describing, analysing and evaluating why and how Imtiaz Dharker has used the devices she has incorporated into the ‘Blessing’.
The title of the poem alone, ‘Blessing’ is a strong word which could mean that what happens in the poem is special, almost like a miracle, which helps set the mood of this poem very early on. The first line, ‘The skin cracks like a pod’ is not only an effective simile, but it’s a way of setting the scene and cultural aspects of the poem as the first image of a pod that comes to mind is a cocoa pod, which cracks in the sun’s heat or is cracked open to get to the cocoa beans. The cocoa pod is from somewhere like Africa. In the second line, the way the words are placed really emphasises the word ‘never’ as it catches you out when reading out loud. You would normally say that phrase as ‘is never’, but in this poem, to emphasize the rhythm and the word ‘never’ the sentence is ‘never is’.
In the second stanza, onomatopoeia plays a fairly big part, taking over 3 words, ‘drip’, ‘splash’ and ‘echo’. I think this not only gives a strong visual image, but allows the reader/listener of the poem to really imagine what’s going on. Personification also appears in this verse, “the voice is of a kindly God”, which gives religious ideas that were not put across before. I think that this is a successful and effective way of using device and the verse is way of describing the sounds going on, which gives us a different way to perceive the poem.
The next verse is a controlled jumble of stylistic and formal devices, concentrating on methods such as onomatopoeia and personification, but also basing a large chunk of the verse on structure. In the ninth line, when it mentions that ‘silver crashes to the ground’, the metaphor ‘silver’ takes the place of the word water, enforcing the title’s meaning, by making the water become a precious metal, which encourages us to see how valuable water is in some parts of the world. This is exactly what Imtiaz Dharker is trying to convey in this poem. Within the same sentence, the word ‘crashes’ is used, which is onomatopoeia. By using this word we can tell that the water hit the ground with a lot of force, which in line 17 can be used as the cause for the phrase, ‘frantic hands’ (they want to get the water before it all disappears).
When I first read the phrase, ‘roar of tongues’, I automatically thought of tongues as in, the tongues of different languages. I can see now, that the ‘roar of tongues’ is not the roar of lots of different languages; it is the roar of lots of people speaking, screaming or crying with joy. This line is also a case of onomatopoeia. The onomatopoeia in the sentence (‘roar’) signifies just how loud the sounds of the people were and adds once again to our understanding of how desperate these people were for water, and how little attention we pay to it.
The punctuation and the sentence structure in the third stanza used to allow the words to flow in a certain rhythm and connect together well. It can also emphasize certain words and phrases, such as when the comma is placed after ‘suddenly’ in line 9, leaving you hanging for the slightest moment, allowing you to pay extra attention to the poem. The punctuation and language used also changes the pace of the sentences, like when lines 9-10 are fairly short and have no punctuation (enjambment), that is read quickly as you don’t have to stop for any commas, or full stops, but in line 15, (‘brass, copper, aluminum’) the commas make you stop for a short breath between each word, making the line slower, and more interesting.
A final device used in the last paragraph is an oxymoron. In line 19, the oxymoron ‘liquid sun’ is used. This could mean that the water from the pipe has suddenly burst and brought hope. The oxymoron is just another way of expressing how badly we treat water. As a nation, when it rains we moan, and rush out for the smallest bit of sun whilst in Africa, they rely on the chance rain and use it resourcefully. This poem confused me at first with the sentence structure and the many devices used, but after taking the time to dissect the poem, we can see that all these devices just add to the impact and emphasis of how important water is to those who don’t get it freely, and makes us feel guilty at just how we take it for granted and think of water as nothing.