From two / three poems you have studied, write about how the poets bring their experiences of other cultures to life. The poets; Imtiaz Dharker; Denise Levertov and Chinua Achebe, all bring their experiences of other cultures to life in their respective poems; Blessing; Vultures and What Where They Like? This is achieved in many ways including, through the use of; subject; character; language; viewpoint and structure.
The poets explain what is happening to culture in their habitats by using metaphors to build up a picture in the readers mind ” the sudden rush of fortune” in Blessing , describes the fact that there is a lack of water in the area and when they do have water it is a “Blessing”. “Voice of kindly god” is another metaphor used to describe what the inhabitants think of using the water which shows how the citizens of the village feel about the water. Similarly in Vultures, Achebe describes the vulture as a “pebble on a stem” this immediately leaves the reader with a bad image about vultures.
Furthermore “telescopic eyes” gives the effect that the eyes can see everything Achebe has created this because he wants the reader to know that the vultures are constantly looking for dead bodies. In What Where They Like? “Light hearts turned to stone” is a metaphor Levertov uses to describe how all the happiness has gone in Vietnam during and since the war. Similarly to how the poets use metaphors, similes are used to describe the situation. In Blessing Dharker uses similes to make the poem flow easier and create a picture in the readers head: “flow has found” is used to explain the rush of water.
On the other hand, in Vultures, Achebe begins the poem by using similes to cause a negative effect: the “dawn” is described as; “despondent” and “drizzly”. Like Vultures similes in What Where They Like? are also used to create a negative effect laughter is described as; “bitter and burned”. Achebe has used these similes because he wants the poem to start in a bad manner, this will help the description of vultures seem even more dire. The poets are clever in the chosen viewpoint in which the poem is written from. In Vultures, Achebe has written the poem from someone who can discover both bad and evil in everyone.
“A dump of gross feathers” is a metaphor used to describe the vultures in a bad manner, in another stanza Achebe explains about the other side of vultures; “Nestled close to his mate” shows that vultures do have love inside them. These two quotations convey that Achebe has chosen to write the poem from someone who can see that “that kindred love is lodged in the perpetuity of evil”. In Blessing, Dharker has written the poem from someone who has witnessed “a rush of fortune” from “Kindly god”. Dharker has chosen to express it in this way to portray the people’s feelings. On the contrary, Levertov has written What Where They Like?
from two viewpoints; in the first stanza an outsider who didn’t know much about the Vietnam War “Did they hold ceremonies to reverence the opening of buds? ” is one of a whole stanza of rhetorical questions. Achebe has created this to make the reader think about the Vietnam War. This is very effective because the thought process is the most important process for the reader to have. The second stanza is from a witness of the war this is clear because the second stanza is built up of answers to the questions from the first stanza; “Perhaps they gathered once to delight in blossom, but after their children were killed there were no more buds”.
These answers also inform the reader of the events of the Vietnam war “their children where killed” “All the bones where charred” The poem finished by another rhetorical question “who can say” this leaves the reader thinking about the Vietnam war. Achebe has written Vultures cleverly by using short lines which makes the reader read slower. This emphasizes how bad the Vultures and the Commandant are because the reader is able take in more information as they read. In the first stanza, Achebe expresses vultures in an unpleasant manner “a dump of gross feathers”.
In stanza two Achebe explains the strangeness of love: “indeed how love is so particular”. The poem continues using another example of how “kindred love is lodged in the perpetuity of evil”, the Commandant of Belsen can slaughter innocent lives but still can “stop at the wayside sweet-shop and pick up a chocolate for his tender offspring”. In the last stanza Achebe summarizes the poem using strong and powerful language, “tenderness encapsulated in icy caverns of a cruel heart” this is very effective because it’s an oxymoron. Achebe has deliberately placed tenderness and cruel heart together for effect.
Blessing begins with the suffering that the village goes through by describing the lack of water and asking the reader to “imagine the drip of it”. This makes the reader understand what it would be like without water. In the third stanza the lines get broader and this forces the poem to get faster. Dharker has created this because there is a “sudden rush” of excitement as the “municipal pipe bursts” In the fourth stanza the poem is still at full width as is the flow of water which creates “their highlight[s] polished to perfection”. The poets have been intelligent when choosing characters to use in their poems to portray there message.
For example in Vultures, Achebe has used the extremes of evil “Vultures” and the “Commandant of Belsen”. Achebe has used these characters because they are extremely evil however both have a spark of “kindred love”. In contrast Levertov has used the whole Vietnamese population, “did the people of Vietnam use lanterns of stone”. Levertov has decided to do this because it was not just an individual affected by the war it was a whole country. Similarly to What Where They Like? In Blessing the whole inhabitants of the shanty town are included.
Dharker has decided to use the whole town because it’s the whole town that is affected by the “municipal pipe burst[ing]”. In these three poems a message is being portrayed. In Blessing Dharker is trying to explain that there is a lack of water in the shanty town and when they do have water it’s a gift from a “kindly god”. A small gift brings great joy. In What Were They Like? Levertov has written the poem to explain how devastating the Vietnam War was and how it will affect the whole country in the future. On the contrary Vultures has been written to show that even the greatest evil has “a tiny glow worm” of love.
In conclusion, all three poets have used different techniques to bring their experiences of culture to life in their respective poems; Vultures shows how Love is found even in the greatest evil. Blessing shows how even a little gift can bring great joy. What Where They Like? shows that love can be taken away. My favourite poem is Blessing because it has a joyful message and I think the poem is very effective because it has been very well structured by using rhetorical questions. Similarly to What Were They Like? Vultures also has been very cleverly by using short lines and I like this poem because it gives a good message.