Praise Song for my Mother – Grace Nichols | GCSE ENGLISH TEACHER
Click through the tabs below to explore my analysis of different aspects of the poem. A praise song is a traditional African form of poem used to celebrate loved. A secondary school revision resource for GCSE English Literature about Grace Nichols: Praise Song for My Mother Back to Poetry: Relationships index. Praise Song for My Mother You were water to me deep and bold and was loving, 'bold' symbolizes bravery and 'fathoming' means understanding. The poem is a free verse to show a natural and open relationship; The.
In the case of this poem, it is probably safe to assume that the speaker is Grace Nichols, who is writing a praise song in honor of her mother. The poem ends with only one line in the final stanza. When speaking of her mother, Nichols writes in the past tense, and one can assume that this is because her mother has passed away.
For instance, in the first stanza, Nichols compares her mother to water, something that is essential for survival.
Her mother was not just any water, however: Another interesting aspect of the poem is just how intimate and personal it is. Just like the ocean, Nichols cannot help but be pulled toward her mother. Nichols diction continues to be perplexing in this stanza with her use of the word mantling, which is defined as a piece of cloth used to decorate various items, such as clothing and helmets. The third stanza mirrors the first and second in terms of structure and style, but it is much more simplistic than the previous stanza.
Just as the sun rises every morning, so could Nichols depend on her mother to always be there. And not only was her mother dependable, but she was also very loving and radiant. The fourth stanza takes on a different style compared with the first three.
There is also a strong connection drawn between Nature and the role of her mother and family life in general in Guyana. It is deeply personal as we can see from the use of the second person address.
In the opening stanza, she compares her mother with water, which immediately has connotations such as life giving, vital, soothing and replenishing.
Praise Song for my Mother by Grace Nichols Analysis Essay
However, these obvious connotations are maybe implied, but not specifically explored. Instead it is the depth and power of water that she draws attention to.
These words are deliberately vague and almost challenge us to draw our own meaning, but I see Nichols as painting a picture of someone she admired for providing a limitless supply of love and always being able to provide wisdom and guidance for her daughter no matter the situation. Again, this is not what the poet explores, but is a natural inference to draw.
The sunrise leads us out of darkness and misery, which her mother is able to do and help her recover from those times she is down or feels worthless.
The warmth of the metaphor in the third stanza continues into the fourth, which is now a rush of rich, cherished memories that will forever be associated with her mother. From vibrant colours of nature to the delicious smell and taste of the food she grew up eating, Nichols places her mother at the heart of a loved childhood and all these elements of her culture that she holds on a pedestal.
The final stanza seems to be a final summation of her mother. She inspired and empowered her daughter with the belief that she could achieve whatever she wanted in life.
GCSE Poem analysis: Praise Song for My Mother by Grace Nichols
Its brevity also brings us to an emotional realisation that she is gone forever. Language and techniques We can draw significance from the title in the fact that it reflects Nichols roots and cultural heritage as a form of poetry typically associated with African poetry — with colonialism ensuring this connection extended to the various territories with an historic association with the slave trade. Although Nichols wrote the poem while living in the UK, by using this traditional form she is honouring her mother and her native culture.
The reverence towards her mother and the suggestions of continuing maternal influence and guidance, even in death, suggests this poem serves as an address to her mother in heaven, with the belief that she continues to watch over her.
Water is the essence of life, while the sun and the moon are often referred to as heavenly bodies and givers of life. Thus her mother is credited with a divine influence in her existence, her development and her continuing life. However, Nichols leaves us to make these connotations and introduces her own more personal and often vague associations.
On a literal level we can consider the depth of the oceans and the considerable power, or I suppose bravery, in its waves and magnitude. We have to speculate on what these represent specifically to our poet. Her depth could suggest a mother who continues to impress their daughter with their knowledge, their wisdom and ability to guide. The tone of the poem suggests a continuing reverence for her mother as if she always feels like she can learn from her.
However, we measure fathoms as we descend into a body of water and perhaps this is what Nichols means.
Praise Song for my Mother by Grace Nichols Analysis Essay Example for Free
Her mother enabled the poet to explores the depths of who she is and develop herself fully. Interestingly, it is presented in the present continuous tense here, which suggests that her mother continues to serve this role, even in death. Nichols again conjures her own connotations.