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All three poems are about outsiders and issues that they find important. Issues that most of us would take for granted if we were not actually in that particular group. The first poem ‘half-caste’ by John Agard addresses the issue of being half-caste. The poet ridicules the use of the term half-caste. The poet does this in a very light-hearted and fun way. He asks if Picasso is second rate just because he mixed colours in his paintings and he asks if the English weather is classed as “half-caste weather” because it’s always overcast in England.
Should Tchaikovsky’s work or music be classed as second rate just because he used both the black and white notes on his piano. The point he is trying to make to the reader is – is someone who is called a half-caste only half a person? The point of the poem is to try and get the reader to be a bit more open-minded. He deliberately uses very well known people; geniuses even, as examples to make his point. The poet uses colloquial English and imperatives and starts the poem by using the phrase “excuse me. ” He does this to try and attract attention and to get people to listen.
He also uses the phrase “explain yuself” and “wha you mean” numerous times throughout the poem (repetition). Again, the idea is to get the reader/listener to think in a more open-minded way, and why we might be using the term ‘half-caste. The poet has very effectively used dialect to make his point that the term ‘half-caste’ is normally used when there is a afro-Caribbean mixed-race person involved. The poem is written in 5 stanzas of varying lengths. The poet uses short lines throughout the poem and this gives more impact to his point.
He uses stanzas because it possibly gives the reader a chance to reflect on what has been said. The poet cleverly lets sentences run on into the next stanza so that when the poem is read it can possibly be read angrily in one stanza but then with the gaps and the sentence running into the next stanza almost pleadingly as he tries to make people understand. However, there are times in the poem especially when referring to the term ‘half-caste’ which could be read out angrily just to make that point stand out more forcefully.
The second poem ‘search for my tongue’ by Sujata Bhatt, tries to deal with the difficulty immigrants might have speaking two languages. This poem uses both English and Gujarati to make this point. The poet wonders whether she will forget her mother tongue but by the end of the poem is quite sure that she wont. The poem is written in three sections. In the first section the poet expresses her worries about losing her mother tongue. In the second section she explains these ideas in Gujarati whilst in the third section she dreams that although she may feel that she is losing her mother tongue, it was in fact growing stronger within her.
By using the phrase ‘I have lost my tongue’ the poet is cleverly telling us how confused she is and does not know what to say. While dreaming, the poet uses metaphors to describe her tongue. She compares it with a plant when she says “it grows back, a stump of a shoot grows longer. ” I feel that the poem should be read sadly when reading about the idea of losing the mother tongue but angrily at the thought of speaking a foreign tongue and happily towards the end of the poem when she dreams about the mother tongue getting stronger in her mind. The third poem ‘Blessing’ by Imtiaz Dharker is set in a third world country.
We assume this because midway through the poem he describes people rushing out from huts to collect water. The poet is trying to emphasise the importance of water to life. The poet compares water with ‘silver’ and ‘liquid sun’ using metaphorical language. Both silver and liquid sun reflects valuable items and thereby stipulating the importance of water to life. The poet sees water as a ‘blessing’ and uses this as a central metaphor. The poem has been written in four stanzas. As it comes across as a more serious poem it gives the reader a moment to reflect on what has just been read.
The poet uses short lines to get his point across and give it more impact. He uses short stanzas when describing the lack of water and longer stanzas when there is a plentiful supply of water. The poet uses a simile in his first line of the poem when he begins with “the skin cracks like a pod. ” This gives an image of serious drought conditions. The poet uses words such as ‘rush or fortune’ and ‘silver crashes’ deliberately. These words are to do with wealth and fortune. This emphasises the importance of water to the villages. The poet also uses religious imagery.
She describes people coming out from their huts to collect water as a “congregation. ” The poem refers to men, women and children in stanza three, but only to the children in stanza four. This is because most people are sympathetic towards children and can give more emotion to the poem. The poem also stresses the different way the adults and the children behave at the sight of water. Whilst the adults are busy collecting water, the children play around the water gleefully. The children are obviously unaware of how serious the situation was without water.
The poem can probably be read in a pitiful tone, sympathising with the poor and cheerfully when the pipe bursts and there is water about. All three poems deal with issues important to the minority of this country. Each poet is able to convey their thoughts and feelings very effectively and each one is able to do so using their own methods of writing. Each poem uses various imagery and language to get the point across. Each poem has been effective in getting across their points across and making readers think of how a problem that they perceive as being simple, is actually very important to the people concerned.