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Praise Song for My Mother: Contrast Between Past and Present

Autor:   •  May 21, 2012  •  Essay  •  493 Words (2 Pages)  •  1,817 Views

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In the poem Praise Song For My Mother, the author develops a clear contrast between past and present which let the readers understand how significant the poet’s mother was to her.

To begin with, the poet sets the past using the words ‘You were’ referring to her mother. In this way we get to know that her mother was very meaningful to Nichols and that she is not with her anymore. In the line ‘You were water to me’ this is very clear, as the importance the author’s mother had on her is compared to the essentiality water has to living, and therefore to the poet’s actuality.

On the second place, the author explains using metaphors, how her mother nourished her character and how she gave her tranquillity. This is shown on the line: ‘moon’s eye to me’ as the mother is associated with the moon and thus, how protected she felt by her side and still feels this mantling in the present. This is projected now, in her own personality, meaning that as the mother was active during her grow up, she passed on the strength to go on with her own life with confidence in the future.

The fact that Nichols considers the use of verbs ending in ‘ing’ indicates an ongoing action, and gives the idea of progress, from past to present and then to future. Also, it reflects the active role that her mother had in the poet’s life, as her presence is constant in her everyday life: this once more reflects how significant the mother was on the poet’s growing up. An example of this is shown on the line: ‘deep and bold and fathoming’. In this case, fathoming acts as the mantling, the protecting action that her mother gave to the author and clearly, she still feels it in her day after day life.

Another point to consider is the constant comparison between what her mother meant to her and the importance of nature. In this way, we get to know how essential this relationship was to Grace Nichols and that her mother is constantly present in her life


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