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Thursday, 12 November 2015

Sometimes I Do Verse

Sometimes I do Verse

In as much as I'm so talkative that I much prefer prose, but sometimes I do opt for verse and end up having poems. Whenever I do so I condense my feelings and emotions into a short string of verses. One lecturer from the University of Swaziland once impressed me, he gave me the reason why poetry is so complicated sometimes. He said "poetry is subjective...through a poem the author conveys his or her immediate emotions and experiences as well as ideas, the author conveys these without elaborating on them" Lukhele (2013). I loved hearing those words, they relieved me, I was like "no wonder one reader thinks that and another thinks that, that is because nobody really knows what the author was feeling at the time of writing". To try and unpack a poem then, we try to fit into the feelings of the author through the emotions triggered by the diction and devices used in the poem. We do not dare make absolute statements, instead we say "I think by this line the author meant this because of this nature of the words in the line". O.k, I know I might have just confused you here, but do not worry we will make examples as we go on.

The subjective nature of poetry has later been proven to me by my own poems, I sometimes write a poem and those I give to read would bring a whole lot of ideas that never crossed my mind when I wrote the poem. I write emotional poems, through my poems I can paint you my past experiences and my own views that I feel nobody else can understand.  A writer uses the diction, style and literay devices to convey his or her immediate emotions through a poem. One funny thing though, or at least for me, I never plan on which device, style and kind of diction am I going to use for a poem in order to clearly pass my thoughts. What happens is I would then hear someone reading say "the use of this particular word makes clear this idea", and I be like 'o.k!' To be honest, now that I no more am studying poetry I am forgetting some of the leteray devices, but they still appear in my works.

For the reason that I do not have my "Crossings of Africa" with me in this shack of mine, today I will only concentrate on unpacking and illumination of the subjective nature of poetry. And I will try to show how I suggest that we treat poetry to derive its meaning; that is the ideas conveyed and the feelings involved.  Let me recite to you this poem, below.

               A Dilemma

There is this wall
This so Strong wall
It bounds around our hearts
It keeps them safe
Safe from arrows from bows

In the process of safety
Pain is enclosed inside
It grows everyday
The wall aids in safety
But also aids in pain

So fragile
Yet so willing
So willing
Yet so fragile
Is our hearts

Break it?
We are prone from the arrows
Keep it?
The blisters of pain grow inside
At a time they will burst

What a wonder you are
A double edged sword
Heals and hurts
Titilates and cuts

      By B. Dlamini

What is the author talking about in this poem? What is this wall? Who is shooting with the bows and arrows? These are questions that came into my mind after reading the verses above. The only person who clearly knows answers to my questions is the so called B. Dlamini. But then, because I have read the poem, let me try to use my feelings to explain what B. Dlamini might have possible meant to convey to us.

In the first stanza the author brings to our attention 'a wall', a wall which helps to poretect 'our' hearts from arrows shot from bows. One thing we can note is the use of a 'wall' than a shield which we know to be widely used in battles to protect one from objects aimed at soldiers. The use of the 'wall' might mean that the protected one is not fighting back, but is just inside the wall wondering why is she or he being shot at. The author uses "our" in the line where we are told what the wall does, "It keeps our hearts safe". This tells us that the voice behind is not the only one helped by the wall, but also the audience, thus the use of inclusive "our".  In the next stanza we are introduced to a second function of the wall, notably though, now the word 'help' is not used, but 'enclosed' is rather used. "In the process of safety pain is enclosed inside". This may mean that the second function of the wall is not the intended one, but it is a package with the intended one. This can be collected even fronm the line "But also...". The use of the "but" tells us that this is not an appreciated function of the wall.

The third stanza brings in a confusion of emotions, the juxtaposation of willingness and fragilety brings to us the confusion. The author also decides to use "Is" followed by a plural lexical item while normaly we would expect "are our hearts". The reason for that might be that regardless of the plurality of the hearts, but they are one in nature, they feel the same way.

The confusion and "Dilemma" as said by the tittle gets even clearer in the fourth stanza. Question marks are used there, and notably the first panctuation of the whole work, "Break it?". I suppose "it" refers to the wall in this case. The author brings consequences of breaking it and those of keepping it, and this shows the indecisiveness of the voice.

The last stanza brings a completely new noun, "love". Love is personified in this case, and the voice is talking to it like a person, "what a wonder you are". The author then gives attributes of love, what love is, the use of a metaphor, "double egded sword" takes our minds back to the two functions of the wall. Even more when we meet the line "heals and hurts, titilates and cuts", just like the wall aids both in pain and in protection.

These being said, I think the poet is in a dilemma whether to fall in love or not, and when he or she looks at it she or he concludes that either way there is pain. The wall talked about here might be fear, the fear stops one from falling in love, the fear of being hurt. That is where the voice says "safe from arrows from bows", that same fear though keeps one lonely inside, and that is the "pain enclosed" by the wall. The title "A Dilemma", paints the state the voice is in, the voice is at crossroads whether to fall in love or not. The author leaves even the audience in the same dilemma that she or he has, because we are never told whether he or she ends up getting in or staying away. And the inclusion "our" drags us into the dilemma as well. The message here is love is an aspect of life that we cannot escape, why would one stay away and be hurt without some glimpses of joy? The dilemma of the voice tells us that she or he has already tasted both sides if the sword.