The Themes in Piano and Drums
(i)The Theme of Culture / Conflict
Culture in Piano and Drums by Gabriel Okara In the poemp “Piano and Drums” the poet Gabriel Okara depicts and contrasts two different cultures through symbolism of pianos and drums. The Poem is divided into four stanzas. The first two stanzas represent the “drum” culture and the second two stanzas show the “piano” culture. The description of the drums is in two stanzas, but is one sentence long. The first line of the first stanza: ‘When at break of day at a riverside’ Uses trochees to emphasize the deliberate broken rhythm. The stanza has savage words, “bleeding flesh,” “urgent raw,” “leopard snarling,” “spears poised,” to show that this is a primitive culture, one which has dependency on the environment, as is represented by the “hunters crouch with spears poised.” The environment in this culture is physically dangerous, surrounded by wild animals. Drums here are a way of communication, and “jungle drums telegraphing the mystic rhythm, urgent, raw…” shows the way of life in this culture. This is life which is simple, near the beginnings of man. The stanza ... ... middle of paper ... ...with one another, with Drums illustrating primitive behaviour, and a savage, dangerous culture. The connotations of the piano are complex and technical. The piano uses significantly different word sounds, showing that it is learnt, westernized and intricate compared to the drums which is instinctive and naturally acquired, and simple. The poem uses no set rhyme pattern which suits the poem as it has an undecided effect, emphasizing the confusion of the persona over his future. The Themes in Piano and Drums
(ii)The Theme of Innocence
The theme of innocence in the poem is explored in the poem is explored in the depiction of african culture, from the very first line of the poem where we are told that the events take place "at break of day", the idea of innocence is already implied. This is because the day is fresh and uncontaminated by other activities or sounds. The sound heard from the jungle drums are therefore pure and not corrupt, the poem also invokes the idea of innocence. The Themes in Piano and Drums
(iii)The Theme of Dilemma
The theme of dile also features in the poem, while the poet speaks glowingly of african culture, he also finng european culture, despite its shortcomings, seductive. Thus he is unable to dwcide whether to let go of the inherited culture or embrace the new one this is the plight of many educated africans today . many have however resolved this delimma by taking from the two cultures in what has come to be know as cultual syncretism
(iv)Childhood reminiscence and its effect.
The poem speaker was reminded of his/her “primal youth and the beginning” through the quietness of the early morningriver and the echoing forest. While at the riverside, the poem speaker could “hear jungle drums telegraphing/the mystic rhythm…” (Line 2 & 3) and other things like panther, leopard, hunters crouching with poised spears, etc added to his/her memory.
The poem speaker revealed in stanza 2, the effect such reminiscence brought to his/her memory of sitting “in my mother’s lap a suckling”, “walking simple paths with no inovations”, and groping in green leaves with wild flowers in naked hurrying feet.
(i) The nature and vulnerability of innocence
Innocence is presented here as freedom from constraint and self-consciousness. The child starts out taking pleasure in an uninhibited life, full of trust in his world, both natural and human. The fragility of this state is clear from images like ‘blossoms' and ‘tender plants .. strip'd'. The child soon experiences the ‘woe' in life and of learning the possibility of failure and betrayal.
(ii) Snares, confinement
Images of confinement abound in the Songs. Blake the revolutionary opposed the coercive strictures of the ‘Establishment' – the state, organised religion etc. - which sought to quantify and rule all aspects of human behaviour. Here, education is formalised and restrictive, actually stunting the development of those it claimed to nurture. Prison imagery is seen in the ‘cruel eye' of the overseer and the ‘cage' of the bird.
(iii) Parental care and authority
In Blake's work, parents are often perceived as inhibiting and repressing their children. Their own fears and shame are communicated to the next generation through the parental desire to ‘protect' children from their desires. According to Blake, parents misuse ‘care' to repress children, rather than setting the children free by rejoicing in, and safeguarding, their capacity for play and imagination. Here, parents are seen as colluding with a repressive system; it is as though they are entrapped by a way of seeing the world and transmit that entrapment to their offspring by perpetuating the system.