Dear girls, off we go with this project. We will learn a lot from each other and we will get to appreciate poems from writers from all over the world. I tried to choose poetic productions that somehow can promote the free expression of your ideas, feelings, insight, etc. and this is what poetry is meant for, isn’t it? It breathes inside our mind and body, it moves the "chords of our emotions" , it inspires us and makes us see things through different lenses. It promotes a whole new experience of a particular event. Thanks in advance for all the things you are going to teach me. We will have fun together (hopefully) because we will be able to express our opinions without feeling judged. This is a blog, do remember. Nobody is judging anybody. We are only expressing ideas which become good food for thought for all the others.
The poem you are going to read does not present either the title or the name of the author. Is the writer a man or a woman in your opinion? What do you think the title of the poem could be? Where does the writer come from? Mind you, try to substantiate your answers, try to explain why you are claiming certain things. Don’t throw things there just for the sake of writing something.
(for a Caribbean island man in London who still wakes up to the sound of the sea)
and island man wakes up
to the sound of blue surf
in his head
the steady breaking and wombing
and fishermen pushing out to sea
the sun surfacing defiantly
from the east
of his small emerald island
he always comes back groggily groggily
Comes back to sands
of a grey metallic soar
to surge of wheels
to dull North Circular roar
his crumpled pillow waves
island man heaves himself
Another London day
Though not all of you have replied to the questions I posed last week, here I am going on with the analysis of this beautiful poem. Are you all ears? Or better, should I write, are you all eyes? Well, the title of the poem is "Island Man" (1984) and it was written by Grace Nichols (she is John Agard’s wife, last year we read his famous poem "Half-caste. Do you remember it?). So some of you were right in their assumptions. I congratulate with you. Now, let’s hone our skills and let’s try to read this poem "more deeply". You all got the gist, that is the difficulty for a Caribbean immigrant to live in an urban environment and his need to find a way how to accept the different reality surrounding him.
What do you notice regarding punctuation? What marks possible divisions in the poem? We know that punctuation and the lay out of a poem play an important role, since they add meaning to it.
The nostalgic tone of the poem is built through the contrast between the "emerald island" and London. The colours of the island contrast with those of London. What are these colours? What sounds did the man hear on his island? What sounds does he hear in London? Do remember the relevance of the langauge used by the poet. The use of language that appeals to the senses adds value to the poem.
In "sands of grey metallic soar" a word belonging to the semantic field of Nature, "sands", is used in conncetion with "metallic soar", an expression which evokes an industrialized urban setting. The two semantic fields are connected through "grey", which could refer both to the sands of an island and to the overall colour of London. Find two more examples of words used metaphorically in this second part of the poem.
The island man wakes up from his dream of the emeral island to find a different reality. Which words in lines 11-19 express the effort and unpleasantness of waking up to "another London day"?