Both ‘praise song for my mother’ and ‘ghazal’ use language devices to portray relationships. They use imagery, metaphors and structure to do so. They bother portray in different ways. ‘praise song for my mother’ portrays relationships as happy and fun whereas ‘ghazal’ portrays them as unpredictable and ever changing.
In ‘ghazal’, Khalvati writes a different comparison to love in each stanza. ‘If yours is the iron fist in the velvet glove/if I rise in the east you die in the west’. The fact that Khalvati has done this shows that love is never the same. It also shows that it is constantly changing and can never be predicted. It could also show that the woman’s love for the man is constant the mans love for the woman is unreliable and is constantly changing.
On the other hand, in ‘praise song for my mother’ each stanza seems the convey the same thing about love, that it is happy and constant. ‘you were sunrise to me rise and warm and streaming’. The word ‘sunrise’ means that the personas lover was what lit up their day and helped them see clearly. It could also mean that their love was constant and never failed as the sun rises every morning in a continuous pattern. The word ‘warm’ has also been used and this could suggest that they are always nice to each other and never argue. Heat can also be linked to the colour red and this in turn can be linked to love, therefore the persona is indirectly expressing their love for this person without facing it head on.
In ‘praise song for my mother’ Nichols has used imagery to portray the relationship. ‘you were the fishes red gill to me’. Nichols has used the word ‘gill’ to show that the persona needed the other person. A fish wouldn’t be able to survive without its gills and this shows that the persona might as well be dead without the other person. Everyone would be able to relate to this as everyone has suffered heartbreak. This would help to keep the interested and mean that they can empathise with the reader. The word ‘red’ has also been used and love is a connotation of the colour red. On the other hand red can be linked to death and this links back to the persona saying that they are dead without the other person.
Similarly in ‘ghazal’ Khalvati has also used imagery to show the relationship. ‘when the arrow flies, the heart is pierced, tattoo me’. The use of the word ‘tattoo’ is the persona saying that their love for the other person is eternal and they never want it to end. Tattoos cannot be changed once they are on your skin and Khalvati’s use of the word could mean that they don’t want the other person to change as she thinks they are perfect as they are. Khalvati’s comparison to an arrow means that her love for the other person was sudden and unexpected. She didn’t know it was coming until it struck her.
In conclusion I think that both these poems use mostly the same language devices, but where Nichols portrays relationships as a good thing, Khalvati seems to portray them as a bad thing.
Courtney from Study Moose
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