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

Friday, October 7, 2011

Understanding Chris Abani Poetry/Hands Washing Water Continued...

Chris Abani is the poet for October and as I made known in my last Chris Abani post, I need to learn much much about structure, tone, meter, imagery and so many other things, so please feel free to help me if I am wrong about anything.  Please.
"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
I have established that title of the poem indicates that the poet or narrator wants the reader to see the natural world and human body in a new, unfamiliar way from the norm.  The human body is seen as good and a blessing to water as water is to the human body which is made of mostly water.  Read last post. 

Now I want to look at the structure of the poem.   I had the hardest time trying to figure out if this is  Blank or Free Verse.  To tell the truth, I'm still not completely sure, but this poem seems to be Free  Verse because it is not written in Iambic Pentameter.    Blank Verse uses iambic pentameter.

Let's look at  the first lines of the poem.  Line one: Even| in the| falling|  Line two: a train| breaks for| the light.|  These two lines measure three feet each, not five.

Although Free Verse uses no consistent meter or rhyme, this particular poem does use a pattern of three recurring stanzas.

Why would Abani choose this particular structure?  It could be that he wanted to use an original form that would match the theme of the body as worthy of honor.

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