School: Federal Government College Okigwe. Imo
In line 1-5 which is the first stanza of the poem, the poet launches the discussion about the children whom he refers to as old “their eyes are fixed on maps in place of land //Their feet must learn to follow// Distant contours traces by alien minds” (line 2-4). These lines explain how the children have left the unreal things. The children can and have learn to follow distant marks that are traced by their unfamiliar minds. The use of metaphor can also be cited in the first line of the poem.
In lines 6-13, the children are regarded as being proud although in the actual sense, it is the circumstances that surrounds them that makes them look proud. One of such circumstances as could be cited in the second stanza of the poem is the earth’s withdrawal “from touch of love their bare feet offered” and this makes the little children to “walk on air” making them to look proud although it was the earth that exhibited an act of pride by withdrawing from them, although the earth once belonged to them. The poet also goes on to describe their chins as pointed and aimed “proud seeming, at horizons filled with crows” (line 12) which could also be mistakes as an act of pride too. In this stanza the poet makes use of hyperbole “they tread on air” (line 7) and also “note the land it was that first withdrew” (personification) in line 8.
The third stanza (lines 14-20) kicks off with the poet’s description of the children. He describes them as “growing the largest eyes // within head sockets. Their heads are crowns // on neat fish spines, whose meat has passed // through swing doors to the chill of conversation // and chilled wine”. Here a metaphor is employed as the poet directly compares their heads to crowns on neat fish spines which shows that during childhood, the head including the brain is still well intact as a fish’s neat spine but the eyes stare dead. //They pierce beyond the present through dim passages // Across the word of living. (lines 18-20). This shows that despite the fact that the stare of the children looks dead, they could pierce beyond the present to see across the world of living.
In the fourth stanza (lines 21-28), the poet begins a discussion on the parent’s of “the children of this land”. He says that they are dispossessed and deprived of land, not to mention their hopeless state. The poet also uses this stanza to try to inculcate the idea of the present-day society into the readers. The poet goes on to say that in this time, a feeling of worthlessness towards one another has replaced the former feeling of brotherly love due to this prevalent evil, “the children of this land// are castaways in holed crafts, all tortoise skin // and scales – the callus of their after birth”. (lines 23-25). Due to the way the society is, people are willing to kill their close and distant relations. There is total disregard among people and this could deprive the children off the love and affection needed for their growth and the children grow up to promote “new social codes and laws (line 27) for the good of the society, as their race will over shadow the present. The presence of a biblical illusion can be seen in line 24 “are castaways in holed crafts” as it could be linked to the story of prophet Moses’s childhood.
Stanza five starts as a run-on line from the fourth stanza. In this stanza, the poet describes the present race as a race “where love is banished stranger, lonely wanderer in forests prowled by lust” (line 29-30). The poet tries to disclose the fact that in the present race, love is a long forgotten ideology as it has been banished from our society as a stranger and is now being preyed on by lust, the poet also goes on to describe love as a “hidden, ancient ruin, crushed// by memory, in this present // robbed of presence” (lines 32-34). There is a presence of personification in this stanza as love is being referred to aa a banished stranger and also a presence of pun in lines 34-35.
The last stanza of the poem (lines 35-43) explains the attitude of the children towards the social injustice meted out on them. the poet says that “the children of this land embrace the void // As lovers” (lines 35-36) we could also see that in this stanza, the children // Are robed on judges” (line 39) which signifies justice for them. but the children can but only ask one question “who sold our youth?” (line 40). Symbolism can be sited in this stanza as the robe of judges signifies justice and equality.
SUMMARY OF THE POEM AS IT AFFECTS ME
This poem is likely directed to the happenings of the society around us. This poem exposes the type of society we are living in. a society where love is no more a reality but an ideology. The poem is a call to everyone (you and I) to stand up and fight for justice for the children of this land.