- What is the poem about?
- This poem is about water; in a hot country, where the supply is inadequate, the poet see water as a gift from God.
- When a pipe bursts, the flood which follows is like a miracle, but the 'blessing' is ambiguous - it is such accidents which at other time cause the supply to be so little.
- The poem explores what is valuable is different cultures.
- What do I need to know about the author?
- We have a clear sense of the writer's world - in her culture water is valued, as life depends upon the supply: in the west, we take it for granted.
- This is a culture in which belief in “a kindly god” is seen as natural, but the poet does not express this in terms of any established religion (note the lower-case “g” on “god”).
- She suggests a vague and general religious belief, or superstition. Note that she uses the word, ‘congregation’ to suggest a crowd, a term more normally used in a religious context.
- The water is a source of other metaphors - fortune is seen as a “rush” (like water rushing out of the burst pipe), and the sound of the flow is matched by that of the people who seek it - their tongues are a “roar”, like the gushing water.
- Most tellingly of all, water is likened to “silver” which “crashes to the ground”. In India (where Ms. Dharker lives), in Pakistan (from where she comes) and in other Asian countries, it is common for wealthy people to throw silver coins to the ground, for the poor to pick up.
- The water from the burst…