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Saturday, 15 April 2017

INTERPRETATION OF THE POEM ‘LOVE IZ A DEVIL’ By Ebi Robert




Poems are like prophecies often spoken in dark speeches. To appreciate an idea of a poem far beyond the beauty of its diction, interpretation becomes a necessity. Nonetheless, poems may not be perfectly interpreted, yet closely spoken about. Here, upon a poet’s request, I shall be closely speaking about a poem titled: “Love iz a Devil”. This interpretation shall pierce the veil of poetic analysis and transcend unto the mountains of diction, figures and devices. The focus shall be: (1) The theme (2) The mezzage in the theme (3) Poetic diction/Expression (4) Figure of zpeech used (5) Any other featurez in the poem that iz/ are worth appreciating. Hereunder is the piece.

LOVE IZ A DEVIL

Love iz a drummer boy
That beatz victimz’ heartz
Time and Time again

Love iz a musician
That compozez victimz’ wordz
To impromptu passionate zongz

Love iz a mother
That feedz the hungry baby
Bubbling it back to life

Love iz a friend
Happily there with you
Even when the world haz hone out

Yet, love iz a devil
That zpurz ideaz
That temptz one to crime.
SK NWAEJIE

THE THEME: The poem is a wonderful write up which theme cannot be easily centralized. With the eyes of poetry, the poem can be interpreted to have more than one theme which may be similar in explanation. But for this interpretation, one major theme can be cultivated which is “THE POWER OF LOVE”. Love is a very powerful force which is capable of getting the world stand still and not rotates. Many writers in sundry times have described love in different tones. Iris Murdoch (1919 - 1999) in Chicago Review, "The Sublime and the Good", said these words about love:  “Love is the difficult realization that something other than oneself is real.” Jerome K. Jerome (1859 - 1927) in Idle Thoughts of an Idle Fellow, "On Being in Love", said “Love is like the measles; we all have to go through with it.” Phineas Fletcher (1582 - 1650) on the other hand said in Sicelides that: “Love is like linen often chang'd, the sweeter.”  John Donne (1572? - 1631) also said in Songs and Sonnets, "A Lecture upon the Shadow" that:  “Love is a growing or full constant light; and his first minute, after noon, is night”.
All these mighty words give us an insight of the power of love. The poem in focus has simply described love in the words so used by the poet. It can be further said that another sub-theme which is tied to the major them is the “THE DYNAMIC NATURE OF LOVE”. Considering the second item which borders on the message, much will not be said about the theme.

THE MEZZAGE IN THE THEME: On the power of love and its dynamics; love can be seen playing different role in different ways. It plays the role of a binding cord which binds two lover’s hearts which makes them masters to their stand and slaves as well. When two are in love or love themselves, the heart tends to beat fast. This heart-beat can be caused by many reasons; it could be caused for fear to loss a loved one, or just as a love play, the way with which it plays with the loving heart. This continues in so far the lover lives. Thus the poet says: “Time and Time again”. While every lover can be seen as a master of his or her heart, one can be tempted to say, it makes a lover a slave to the heart. But then drums are beaten to a song sang, and the dancer dances to only to a sound song sang. Here the hearts in the poet’s scenario dances, which implies sweet song being, sang, but does the heart dance to all songs that are sweet? One may ask.  This question is asked considering the issue of heartbreak and other breakages.

Still on the dynamic nature of Love; Stanza two places love in a scenario of a musician. This tells us that there is just no division of labour. Here love plays the role of a drummer and a musician at the same time. Yet, love only wrote the song and gave it to the lovers to sing. But the lovers whose hearts must dance to the rhythms of love were not given the time for rehearsing the song. It appeared so prompt, and in passion it is sung. The poet calls the lovers: ‘Victims’. Victims can be interpreted in two ways. They could be slaves or even masters that are slaves. But what are these words written by love that is to be spoken by the lovers? It somehow tells of a man who may be forced to approach a lady he likes but didn’t plan the words to use in the task. It somehow tells of a situation where a lover would be faced with an urgent situation where a decision is to be taken, and because love is involved, words not planned are just spoken, but sure on the tables of love, that is to say, composed by love. It somehow tells of a situation where a lover dies and the other lover bound to sing a dirge to his lover. No, such poet needs no rehearsal. It is a spark that produces light all of a sudden. It can be any kind of situation that may not be mentioned here, but for certain the words in the song are not learned. They are just produced from the bowels of love. Nevertheless, this song should not be taken literally, as it could be only figurative to mean how love makes the lovers act in an unexpected way. But then, can love be said to be the musician when the words it composes are given to the victim to sing? No, I rather see love as the song writer, and the lovers (victims) the musicians, for you can’t be the musician when your song is sung by another and not you.  

Also the poet sees love as a friend that is happily there with its victim, when the world is no best of itself. It is sarcastic, but shows the faithfulness of love. It shows that love is long suffering. Furthermore another attribute of love is that of a care taker. In stanza three, the poet compares love to a mother that feeds the hungry baby bubbling it back to life. Here love can be seen as a guarder of life. A mother carries the burden of a child, so does love, as it carries the burden of caring for a child it loves. Hunger kills or threatens, thus by feeding the child; love is a guider of life.

Yet with all these good spoken about love, it is still seen as a devil. This is quite ironic and paradoxical. How can love be a devil? But on a closer look, it can be seen that the poet either deliberately or otherwise called love ‘a devil’ but not Devil himself. The definite article ‘A devil’ means love is a kind of devil which means there are many devils. Thus what devil is love? Perhaps love may not be the Devil we think it to be. Could Love actually be the trouble, that may make one not to be in perfect control of himself or herself? But from the other angle, could it be love that have blinded the victim or the victim that may have chosen to be blinded by love or at best used love as an excuse, having mistaken the nature of Love? Love perhaps might have only asked one to love and not to be foolish. Perhaps just perhaps, one can be in control. But despite all angles explored, the poets tells us of the dynamic nature of love, that though love could be a friend, a musician or even a drummer, it could take one out of track. Here the poet sees love as a tempter. Some points of view can be used to explain this. Imagine a lady who loves a man but the man loves someone else or gives attention to someone else. Can love only end in jealousy or tempt the lover that has lost to act over and above? Imagine a lady whose heart has been broken by a lover, will she just cry in heartbreak or is there no possibility that the same can be tempted with the idea to pay back? Or can love not make a man, go extra mile, a mile he wouldn’t have gone to show how much he loves someone? If it is a crime love would tempt a man to commit, then the suicide of Romeo and Juliet was a temptation fallen to and then the death of Jesus Christ though not a crime, shows the extent of which love can go to show its power. Thus, whether for good or bad, Love somehow can polish or punish, and whether foolish or wise, love can give funny ideas. This shows the other side of love, its dynamics. Love can be proud, foolish, wise, mad, cruel, etc. Love can be anything, even a criminal. Thus the message is that Love should be treated with care and understood, because when wrongly handled, it can be the hidden demon of the heart.

On another view, Love could be a personality who is not an abstract concept. This way, we speak of a person who is a lover, a friend, the mother of a child, but above all a devil whose name is Love.  Also it could be a display of an irony, whereby Love is no evil but its character of captivity giving it a tyrannical look.

POETIC DICTION/EXPRESSION: Diction simply means choice of words. Diction can be classified into many kinds. Diction can be formal and informal, simple and complex, or connotative and denotative, etc. The diction of the poet in this poem is simple, being that it is straight forward. The diction is also formal and not of slangs. The simplicity of the diction appeals to the reader with a good sense of perceiving, because different classes of readers can read and appreciate it. This can make it to be easily misinterpreted. Thus the simplicity of the diction should not be taken for granted as the poem symbolizes sarcasm as the message in the diction is deep and not to be taken on their ordinary literary look.

FIGURE OF SPEECH USED

The poem of six stanzas made up of sixty seven words can be said to be a short poem, nevertheless there are some figure of speeches used in the poem that gives it its aesthetic outlook.

Metaphor: This is a figure of speech of vivid comparison without the use of ‘like’ or ‘as’ as it is with simile. It is a direct comparison. The poem is simply a Metaphoric Romantic poem, being that all through the poem, the poet uses metaphor to drive home his point. E.g. Love is a musician, love is a friend, love is a mother, etc, are all examples of metaphor.

Anaphora: This is the repetition of the first part of a sentence in a poem to achieve an artistic effect. This was constantly used in the poem by the poet. E.g, ‘Love iz’ was used in all the stanzas of the poem.

Alliteration: This is the repetition of similar consonant sounds in a poetic line or lines. The poet in few occasions made use of alliteration. E.g. Bubbling it back, …when the world, etc.

Personification: This is the attribution of a human quality to a non living thing. E.g, Love is a mother that feeds the hungry baby. This figure can only be material if the said Love is not a personality in the poem.

Paradox: A statement that seems to be contradictory but on a closer look, the truth is seen. The poet uses paradox to create the climax of the poem. E.g. ‘Yet, love iz a devil’ is a good example. How can love be a devil? One may ask, but a closer look the truth would be seen.

Symbolism: Mother is a symbol of care. The poet refers Love to a mother who feeds her children.

POEM STRUCTURE

The poem is simply a romantic metaphorical poem or best a romantic paradoxical poem. The poem is made of six stanzas made of sixty seven words. The poem is as well written in blank verse which follows no rhyming scheme. On prosody, it follows no standard meter pattern but on words-arrangement standard. The poet also uses stanza-triplet to pass on his poetic composition.




    Poems may not be perfectly interpreted, yet closely spoken about.
    Ebi Robert

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