“Children, I said to her. For the first little while, they not exactly human, you don't find?”
Nalo Hopkinson

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Understanding Chris Abani Poetry

Let us look at the title of the poem "Hands Washing Water."  Hands Washing Water is also the name of a book of poetry by Abani published in 2006 by Copper Canyon Press.  I need to learn about structure, tone, meter, imagery and so many other things.  Please feel free to help me if I am wrong about anything.  PleaseAnother poem from Hands Washing Water
"Hands Washing Water"

Even in the falling
a train breaks for the light.
The tunnel the darkness-never

sweeter. The body is not
real. Yet living.
This living body.

There is a child. The blessed
coolness of water.
And hands
It is a reciprocal relationship.  The water needs the hands just as much as the hands need the water.  Hands and water are both holy.  Hands are not viewed as just dirty.  Water is not just a cleanser.

From the perspective of the speaker in the poem, water hydrates and cools the skin and is grateful for its interaction with hands, germs, and heat. Hands give water an important purpose.

The water is saying to the hands, "You are so so good to me."

The title of the book and poem is Hands Washing Water.  Most people think that it is water that washes the hands, so Abani wants the reader to be prepared to think about the physical world and human body differently than the usual way.

No comments:

Post a Comment

What's on your mind?