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What To Look For in a Poem...
NB ­ make sure you have markup turned on (under the view toolbar) to
see the annotations...

Island Man by Grace Nichols
Comment: Rhythm sounds like
Morning waves on shore

and island man wakes up Comment: made-up word to
suggest the nurturing nature…

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Not my Business by Niyi Osundare

They picked Akanni up one morning
Beat him soft like clay Comment: Powerful image ­
flesh beaten soft like clay
And stuffed him down the belly Comment: Personification ­

Of a waiting jeep.
makes the jeep seem like a hungry
person or monster


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IMPORTANT - in the exam you will have to compare a specific
poem from one Cluster (named in the question) with a poem (or
more than one poem) of your choice from any other Cluster.
Knowing the themes and concerns of each poem is vital
therefore if you are to…

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Sound is vital in the poem (it's a limbo dance!). Onomatopoeia is used in,
`drum stick knock' for example. The, `drummer' is frequently mentioned. The
rhythm is very strong (look at lines 3-6).
The structure of the poem is in two parts and describes a journey. The
slaves are on…

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Tatamkhulu Afrika - Nothing's Changed
What is it about? This poem depicts a society where rich and poor are divided.
In the apartheid era of racial segregation in South Africa, where the poem is set,
laws, enforced by the police, kept apart black and white people. The poet looks

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Grace Nichols - Island Man
What is it about? The subtitle really explains this simple poem - it tells of a man
from the Caribbean, who lives in London but always thinks of his home.

What do I need to know about the author? Nichols was born in Guyana and…

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Imtiaz Dharker - Blessing
What is it about? This poem is about water: in a hot country, where the supply is
inadequate, the poet sees water as a gift from a god. When a pipe bursts, the
flood which follows is like a miracle, but the "blessing" is ambiguous -…

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The poem ends with a picture of children - "naked" and "screaming". The
sense of their beauty ("highlights polished to perfection") is balanced by the idea
of their fragility, as the "blessing sings/over their small bones". This also suggests
the fragility of a world dependent on water.

What are the…

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Lawrence Ferlinghetti - Two Scavengers in a Truck, Two
Beautiful People in a Mercedes
What is it about? Quite simply, the rich-poor divide, the culture of the rich and
how it differs to the culture of the poor. The "Beautiful people" in the title is
perhaps written with a mild…

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suggests that, with courage and effort, anyone can cross it. But the poet started
this statement with "as if" - and we do not know if this is an illusion or a real
possibility. The American belief in equality is often thought to be false, as
America is not an…


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