Poetry

In early childhood people learn the proverb “My home is my castle” and this statement becomes a piece of infallible truth for them. This belief is necessary for a person because it reflects one of the basic needs of human beings, a need for safety. Therefore, the strength of pain one feels having lost home, having lost sacred safety is rather hard to imagine. However, being armed with words, a talented poet turns out to be capable enough to reflect devastating emotions in such a way that the reader starts to feel them with his or her own skin. The power of poetic word has been skillfully demonstrated by a Ghanaian poet Kwesi Brew (1928-2007). His painful poem The Sea Eats Our Lands makes the reader’s heart wrung with sympathy and bitterness, so there are obviously special tools the author has used to create such a cut-to-the-bone effect.

The central figure of the poem is personification of the sea. It is described as though it is a living creature able to “run”, “collect the firewood”, and, after all, “eat”. In other words, the sea in the poem acts as a living vicious element and becomes the protagonist of the tragedy. In order to unroll the size of this tragedy, the author thoroughly describes the scene utilizing similes, metaphors and hyperboles: “And above the sobs and the deep and low moans, Was the eternal hum of the living sea.” To underline the dramatic appetite of the sea, the author builds comparison on kitchen utensils (“Carried away the fowls, The cooking-pots and the ladles”). There is also a parallel between natural sounds of whales and desperate mourning of women. Finally, the trinkets lost in the sea become the symbol of frailty of anything people get attached to, while anything indeed can be “eaten” by fate in a flash.

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