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Blessing

Poetry Analysis
by

Jennifer Boyd

on 26 November 2014

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Transcript of Blessing

http://www.bbc.co.uk/learningzone/clips/imtiaz-dharker-blessing-poem-only/10289.html
'Blessing'
by Imtiaz Dharker
The skin cracks like a pod.
There is never enough water.

Imagine the drip of it,
the small splash, echo
in a tin mug,
the voice of a kindly god.

Sometimes, the sudden rush
of fortune. The municipal pipe bursts,
silver crashes to the ground
and the flow has found
a roar of tongues. From the huts,
a congregation: every man woman
child for streets around
butts in, with pots,
brass, copper, aluminium,
plastic buckets,
frantic hands,

and naked children
screaming in the liquid sun,
their highlights polished to perfection,
flashing light,
as the blessing sings
over their small bones.
Before we begin...
Put the following ten things in order of importance to you:
Facebook
Pocket money
Mobile
Boys/Girls
Hollister
Family
Chocolate
Make up
Television
School
Is there anything else you would add to the list?
Now think about these children...
What would be important to them?
WATER
Think about a typical day:
How much water do you drink?
How much water do you use?
Imagine you had no water.
What sorts of problems would that cause?
Can you remember an extremely hot summer's day?
How did everyone act?
Blessing
Where do you think the poem is set?
What do you think the poem is about?
What is the blessing?
Is it really a blessing?
http://www.bbc.co.uk/learningzone/clips/imtiaz-dharker-blessing-poem-only/10289.html
India
Bombay
Dharavi Slum
The skin cracks like a pod.

There is never enough water.
Imagine the drip of it,

the small splash, echo

in a tin mug,

the voice of a kindly god.
Sometimes, the sudden rush

of fortune. The municipal pipe bursts,

silver crashes to the ground

and the flow has found

a roar of tongues. From the huts,

a congregation: every man woman

child for streets around

butts in, with pots,

brass, copper, aluminium,

plastic buckets,

frantic hands,
and naked children

screaming in the liquid sun,

their highlights polished to perfection,

flashing light,

as the blessing sings

over their small bones.
Analysis of the Poem
Temperatures can reach 40 degrees in the summer
in Dharavi
It is currently -2 degrees in Scotland
Our warmest days in the summer are around 25 degrees
In an interview, the poet says:

'But when a pipe bursts, when a water tanker goes past, there's always a little child running behind the water tanker getting the bits of drips and it's like money, it's like currency. In a hot country in that kind of climate, it's like a gift. And the children may have been brought up in the city and grown up as migrants, but the mothers will probably remember in the village they've come from they would have to walk miles with pots to get to a well, to the closest water source. So it really is very precious. When the water comes, it's like a god.'
First stanza provides context - shortage and value of water
S/S - short sentences mirror shortage of water
- also slows the rhythm initially; slow,
long wait for water
S/S - simple, matter of fact statment - this is the harsh reality of the situation.
Simile - could refer to either the ground (drought stricken, barren) or the people (dehydrated, ill) compared to a pod popping open
Onomatopoeia - emphasises the pain of the skin splitting open
Second stanza sounds as if a parched person is fantasising about even one delicious drop of water. Further reinforces its importance and value
Onomatopoeia used throughout, but all very small sounds, mirroring small quantities of water available
Words are monosyllabic, again echoing the tiny drips of water.
S/S - one long sentence to mirror the long time waiting without water
suggests the mug is empty
suggests poverty
Personification -
water is compared to
a divine being,
looking caringly upon the thirsty souls. Appearance of water is miraculous to them and they are devout, thankful for what they have been given.
Definite shift between stanzas 2 and 3:
In mood/atmosphere. From thirsty and deprived to celebratory
In rhythm. From slow and stilted to fast paced
Third stanza depicts the event of the pipe bursting and shows hows everyone rushes desperately to collect water
Onomatopoeic words now contrast completely with the previous stanza - from tiny sounds to huge ones to emphasise the impact and drama of the now free flow of water
Metaphor - water compared to an event like winning a jackpot or lottery
Shows it is shared. No one has preivate, personal water. Also shows poor state of resources that it bursts.
Metaphor - water is precious, a commodity
Metaphor - shows the excitement
poverty
Caesura - a sudden stop in lines of poetry. Focuses attention on the people from this point on
W/C is religious: people gathering to worship, the religious ritual of saving water. (they believe it to be an act of God, not an accident
S/S - no commas. Emphasises EVERYONE is involved.
S/S - list mirrors the clamour of hands and objects pushing in to save water
W/C - cheap materials, compared to silver
W/C - shows how desperate they all are
Structure - longer sentences and stanza mirror the now ready, free flow of water
Final stanza ends by focusing on the joy the water blessing brings to the children. Now happy and carefree, instead of thirsty and suffering.
w/c - poverty
Metaphor - sun now refreshing and beautiful, transformed by the water
Alliteration emphasises water has changed everything, makes everything beautiful
Personification - like church choir rejoicing
W/C - final idea, although seemingly positive, leaves a lingering sense of deprivation and poverty. Poet choose 'bones' over 'bodies'
Blessing
On the surface, a very positive, joyous poem. The people celebrate the gift of water from a kindly God who cares for them.
Yet there are darker ideas lurking under this happy surface: the injustice of those who do not have enough water and consider a burst pipe to be a 'Blessing'.
Writing about the poem
Event - the water pipe bursting and the resultant celebration
Theme - poverty of people who consider a burst water pipe to be a blessing
Setting - an area of great poverty where a burst water pipe is considered to be a blessing
Full transcript