In What Ways Does Imtiaz Dharker Use Language and Structure to Convey Her Ideas in ‘Blessing’
In what ways does Imtiaz Dharker use language and structure to convey her ideas in ‘Blessing’? Blessing is a poem which creates a celebratory scene as well as being ominous and disturbing. Under the visible good fortune and exhilaration of the scene are darker ideas about the poverty and the religious expression of the people in the poverty ridden suburbs of large third world cities, originating from Imtiaz Dharker’s firsthand experience of living in India during the dry season and witnessing the suffering. Imtiaz Dharker uses effective purposeful structure to the poem to give it strength to be able to convey the poem’s underlying ideas.
She uses four stanzas with deliberate use of varied length sentences. When the sentences are short, early on in the poem, it’s used to show the lack of water by contrasting it with the long flowing sentences when its talking about the presences of water. This is achieved by the long flowing sentences evoking the idea of water flowing in the stanza contrasting with the extensive use of full stops in the beginning of the poem. A clear example of this is found The poet also uses alliteration to emphasise particular words and phrases.
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She uses it to bring attention to the lack of water in the line “the small splash”.
The sibilance draws the reader’s attention to the small splash which contributes vitally to the overall imagery of a parched land. Another use of alliteration, which also is sibilance, is “sometimes, the sudden rush of fortune”. This emphasises the word “sudden”, which creates a clearer view of how abrupt the “rush of fortune” is. The poet uses monosyllables to contribute toward the image of water. The line “the drop of it” is used as the monosyllables literally create the sound of the water dripping. This is a very effective technique as it adds aural depth to the poem, thus making the poets views easier to transfer to the reader.
Another use of structure to create an effect is the poetic use of rhyme to generate a powerful impact by creating links between words thus reinforcing their main points. “pod” in the opening line is rhymed with “god” the last word the second stanza, which creates a link between the two words. It shows how both God and a pod, which immediately conjures up an image of a pea pod, bring life. The poet uses an iambic rhythm in “blessing”, which means a stable, regular rhythm that alternates stressed and unstressed syllables in a fixed pattern.
This then provides a sturdy backbone to the poem which allows for it to flow and be aurally pleasant which allows for the reader to be able to delve deep into reading between the lines. Iambic rhythm is the rhythm used in normal speech which is the reason why the poem flows so well. Another use of structure used by the poet is the intentional use of enjambment to create a flowing effect to the poem during the third and forth stanzas when the poet is writing about the presence of water. This creates a flowing rhythm which creates thoughts of water flowing, which happens when a body of water is travelling, like a river.
The poet also uses language to evoke emotions in the reader. A strong and effective use of language is the religious implications of water to the people. The poem features the line “the voice of a kindly god” which is in relation to the gift of water. This is comparing the little water they are receiving to a god, which is god rather than God due to a variety of religions being present in those areas, due to the enormity of their need for water. The idea of idolising water is returned to towards the end of the poem in the line “the blessing sings over their small bones”.
The prospect of a blessing being sung over something is easily related to evangelical Christians singing their gospels and other religious communities expressing their faith through the medium of song. There is also a clear association between water and currency in the poem, as water in that type of situation is as important to the people as money. When the water pipeline owned by the council burst, it is defined as a “sudden rush of fortune”. This can be taken two ways, firstly it could mean a rush of luck as the inhabitants really benefited from it.
Or secondly it can be taken as a rush of currency if “fortune” is taken as an a large amount of money or assets, as defined by the compact oxford English dictionary. This shows that the poet believes that water to these people is worth a great deal of money. Another comparison of water to currency comes quickly chronologically, with the water from the pipe being referred to as “silver”. Apart from the obvious fact that water appears to be silver in colour due to waters critical angle of around 49? , it is also due to silver being a precious metal and then relating the preciousness of the ilver in regard to the water. As silver is such an expensive precious metal, the metaphor implies that water is essential to people suffering a water deficit. Finally the poet uses phrases which can be interpreted slightly differently but all contributing to the same effect thus creating a deeper and richer meaning to the phrase. This is demonstrated in the line “the skin cracks”. This is clearly about the shortage of water but it can be viewed in three different ways. Firstly it could mean that the skin of the people are cracking due to dehydration which happens in poverty stricken areas suffering draught.
Secondly, it could be regarding the skin around the pod of crops. In place where there is a draught, crops often fail by shrivelling up and cracking into a black dust. Finally, the cracking could be down to the ground drying and therefore shrinking and leaving large cracks in the ground, which has now become an iconic image of a draught. To conclude, Imtiaz Dharker uses a variety if techniques regarding the structure and language used to create and awareness of how precious water is. It shows how even though we have an abundance, millions of people in the world are desperate for the same luxury.