Saturday, 14 October 2017

Poetry: Utopia

by Mozhy H-Ashrafi

So much depends
on the memories of those
long forgotten.

because even in the harshest nights
when the world is crumbling to dust
and the trees tumble to ash
and lay broken
new life will one day remember
their place.

even when the fury of
a thousand army men rain down
on the innocent
and homes fall apart like
raindrops from a cloud
survivors will know to build
their shelters stronger.

even when children go hungry
and drink water others
turn their noses to
and mothers watch on as their
young wither
like a nightmare they can’t wake from
the struggles of yesterday
will fuel their searches tomorrow.

Memories cradle lessons,
and lessons cradle hope.

Utopia Commentary:

My initial ideas writing this poem were to highlight how much is wrong with the state of the world as we know it. I first began to think of a few of the many problems humankind has created and now has to face in current times. I chose the theme of memories to lay importance to and this can be denoted from the first stanza.

However, as I wrote more and more of the poem, I began to see how inconsistent the things I was mentioning are in the real world. For example, in the fourth stanza, it is mentioned that mothers will increase their search for a better life, when, in reality, people in such severe poverty have learnt to accept losses and the death of a child is no longer a significant enough occurrence to suddenly turn their life around. It was also missed that in reality, mothers may not even get the chance to mourn their children because they would be uncertain of their own lives and futures.

At this stage, my point of view changed and I came to realise that the motivational message of the poem could only be spoken by people with privileged backgrounds, who would be comfortable enough in their financial and stable lives that they would have the right to freedom of speech and expression. Hence, the poem then took an ironic perspective, mocking the current politicians who can dismiss such huge problems they clearly know nothing about with broad and sugar coated messages, whilst taking minimal action.

This is reflected in the poem through the lack of capital letters throughout the poem, even though there are full stops, until the last stanza. Suggesting, that statements can be made and finished, but it does not necessarily mean that they hold any truth or passion behind them. It is not difficult to say that one can rebuild their homes and shelters stronger, but it is a very different thing to actually carry out.

The last stanza returns to the theme of memories, and is the only message in the poem that does not contradict the real world. If we can learn from the memories of the generations above us, we can learn from their mistake. And from this, the hope for a better future can be believed in.

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