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I need help,i don't really understand this poem and the language devices used ,and what si the structure of this poem?

Also,what could i compare it to?

Posted Wed 23rd May, 2012 @ 14:24 by anonymous

2 Answers

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Hiya! I am just revising this poem so hopefully this will help me too:

The poem is describing what the narrator see's as he is walking through the main street of Baghdad, Palestine Street. Some of the scenes in the poem are violent and distressing whilst others are peaceful and positive. It is showing a view of the city, and how it's people are always facing constant conflict there.


-Lots of first person senses are used which makes it more real and vibrant as we follow him.

- The poet uses colours (such as lilac, black, gold, silver) which could suggests lots of life and movement which is contrasting to the destruction and devastation which has been caused by human conflict. 

- The repetition of the refrain (this is a repeated word or phrase) 'As I made my way down Palestine Street' adds movement also into the piece. It also links the stanzas together which emphasises the idea of this long street which is full of all sorts of things, but are all connected somehow together. For example the way conflict between religion is present in quite a few of the stanzas e.g stanza 1 and 2.

-The are references throughout the poem other conflicts such as 'poison gas' (S1). However no blame is attached to this statement which gives us as the reader a chance to collect our own views. You could also look at Stanza 3. The 'blind beggars' (alliteration) could seem ominous as you are rewarded with a 'salute from the imperial guards'. The gesture first being kind, but then rewarded with this negative symbol could suggest a negative past from Saddam Hussein which is also backed up with the point in the next line 'in the Mother of all Wars' (Hussein threatened this to America if they invaded Iraq during the Gulf War).

-The imagery in the language could also show how even the 'barbarian sun' is attacking them showing how much conflict is in this area.  

-Towards the end of the poem stanzas 5 uses an innocent image of a child in the same stanza describing 'a slow and silver caravan' (this is repeated, maybe to show how graceful it is which is a contradiction as it is a weapon?) which is a metaphor for the missile. As the child 'blessed it a smile' this could be ironic of a child is smiling at this 'magical bomb' showing the innocence of these people who live on the streets? Alternatively I think the child could be linking to how their might be a positive outlook for the future perhaps, as the child is trying to see the bright side in everything?

-This point above could then link tot he final stanza where it celebrates the beauty of the city and the alliteration of 'sweeter than salaams' emphasises these positive words. As the fruit falls into the childs arms, it might be imagery of how children are the future of the world so it may have a positive future? It could alternatively be showinghow human kind could be more simple and kind. Or even it just shows the alternative paths for the future of Baghdad. On the other hand, maybe the fruit is actually representing the missile from the previous stanza? Is the child reaching for the dates in the tree, or the 'fruit' of the weapon showing a negative future for Baghdad?


-First person ballad. Apparently it has an abcbdb rhyme scheme and has a range of long and short iambic lines (iambic pentameter is like the way we speak de dum de dum de dum ... that kinda of rhythm) which could make the poem seem more familiar to us as the reader, despite it being set in a different culture to our own.

- Usually the last lines of each stanza wither contradict or challenge the images we have already had from the first 4 lines. This gives it more impact when we read the stanza, but also gives us time to reflect now on what he has seen.

Attitudes and Feelings:

- It might show criticism of how people make connections between political and then moral ideas. For example, humans may act more aggressively which is damaging to the nature on the planet. 

- Maybe confusion as there are so many contradictions of innocent images with things of pain and violence in human society. E.g the child or S4, the Tigris 'lifts' and then 'fell...' which could be too different views of the city getting better, or getting worse.

-Finally the poem is quite open and detached. It lets the reader make his or her own conclusions about the images we see.

Compare to...

Umm I am not too sure either.

Maybe Belfast Confetti as it shows the city/civilians under attack like in Iraq.

Come on,come back as a sense of loss of innocence - maybe links to the child the man mentions?

At the border, 1979 as this is based on Iraq too and also the way civilians react to something. 

Personally, I think I would go with At the Border because I think Yellow Palm shows the way humans are making the world by the conflict which is destroying beautiful things like the nature, and in the same way, At the Border could imply that people make the border seem something huge and destructive when really they just 'remove' it to let you get past. The girl in the story concludes how really the mountains are the borders which bring us together showing that people themselves could be the reason for conflict? If that makes sense...?

I hope this was helpful?! This is my revision for the poem too and I used the CGP guide and this booklet thing to help too

Good Luck with your exam! Mines tomorrow! 

Answered Wed 23rd May, 2012 @ 15:29 by Emii
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Compare it to Belfast confetti. The poems both talk about how the conflict and war effects people like in yellow palm the children and blind beggars are effected. In Belfast confetti he doesn't  know where tot urn and he is confused

Answered Wed 23rd May, 2012 @ 15:01 by Sarah Richard