The Yellow Palm

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"As I made my way down Palestine Street..."
The 'I' in this poem could be someone who lived there before and now after the action. The word 'down' throughout, makes the narrator sound slightly separate from everything going on in the street - isolated, like an observer almost.
1 of 21
"...I watched a funeral pass -"
There is religious imagery here, which could be controversial. The sense of sight is connected with religious events.
2 of 21
"...women waving lilac stems... a coffin made of glass..."
There is fairytale imagery here; it makes the last line of the stanza more of a shock.
3 of 21
"...lilac stems...golden mosque...black dinars...silver caravan...silver mile...yellow palms...yellow dates..."
There is colour imagery throughout this poem. It emphasises how beautiful the place was but in contrast to how it looks now.
4 of 21
"...I watched...I heard...I met...I smelled...I saw..."
The senses throughout the poem help the reader to visualise - on the surface the place is beautiful but underneath it is different; it makes the reader look deeper.
5 of 21
"...and the face of the man who lay within who had breathed a poison gas."
These two lines are in harsh contrast to lines 1-4. It creates an ugly image - his face would be contorted and distressing.
6 of 21
"As I made my way down Palestine street..."
The repetition of this phrase could reflect the movement of the walk or maybe it shows that there are lots of different sides to the street. Perhaps it reflects the ongoing negativeity - the monotony of conflict.
7 of 21
"...I heard the call to prayer..."
There is religious imagery again here - the sense of hearing is now connected to religion.
8 of 21
"...to watch the faithful there..."
This again creates isolation: a) he was never religious anyway b) curious c) not religious anymore because of war.
9 of 21
"...blood on the walls..."
This image contrasts with the beauty of the mosque and introduces a link between religion and violence.
10 of 21
"...muezzin's eyes were wild..."
This phrase links to 'blind beggars' in the next stanza - suggests nobody's seeing clearly.
11 of 21
"...I pressed my hands..."
The sense of touch shows his connection with the people he sees - it shows sympathy and the importance it has to him.
12 of 21
"...the Imperial Guard in the Mother of all Wars."
The 'Imperial Guard' makes the beggars sound more sinister and hints at a violent past. Saddam Hussein used the expression of 'Mother of all wars' about the Gulf War. It sound historic but actually refers to a modern war using chemical weapons.
13 of 21
"...smelled the wide Tigris, the river smell that lifts the air..."
The sense of smell makes the river sound alive. The almost inspiring word of 'lifts' suggests that the river offers relief.
14 of 21
"...barbarian sun..."
Minhinnick personifies the sun as ruthless; the harsh conditions contrast with the river - even the sun is a victim of conflict.
15 of 21
"...no armistice."
The suggestion of war links with the next stanza - no peace.
16 of 21
"...a slow and silver caravan on its slow and silver mile..."
The repetition emphasises the beauty and grace, even though it's a weapon. Perhaps an oxymoron is created, as you wouldn't think of a bullet as beautiful - it makes it uncomfortable for the reader.
17 of 21
"...beggar child turned up his face and blessed it with a smile."
The repetition of 'beggar' shows the effects of conflict and is clearly emotive. The action of 'turned up his face' shows his disgust at war. The word 'blessed' portrays the child as a religious figure.
18 of 21
"...yellow palms...yellow dates..."
The colour of 'yellow' has connotations of positivity and is appropriate for the positive last stanza. The repetition could represent the light at the end of the tunnel.
19 of 21
"...same child reached up to touch, the fruit fell in his arms."
The innocent, positive image suggests that human society could be much more simple and kind. Using the person of a 'child' exaggerates how conflict affects everyone; even the innocent. Perhaps the 'fruit' could be a metaphor for hope.
20 of 21
"...sweeter than salaams..."
The alliteration here emphasises the positive words.
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Other cards in this set

Card 2

Front

"...I watched a funeral pass -"

Back

There is religious imagery here, which could be controversial. The sense of sight is connected with religious events.

Card 3

Front

"...women waving lilac stems... a coffin made of glass..."

Back

Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4

Front

"...lilac stems...golden mosque...black dinars...silver caravan...silver mile...yellow palms...yellow dates..."

Back

Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5

Front

"...I watched...I heard...I met...I smelled...I saw..."

Back

Preview of the front of card 5
View more cards

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