• murtala mohammed The analysis of the poem Gently by Kobina Ayi Acquah:
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    Brothers, break them gently, 1
    People used to live there.
    Those were not always mere mud walls
    to be bulldozed and leveled down
    to make way for a new highway. 5

    Heaven only knows what scars those walls
    now naked and bald bear, what secrets
    they hold of the dreams and doubt of those
    who lived, who loved and hated, within them.

    To them this was home. Here they came 10
    at night to their meager meal; here
    they hoped in wearied sleeplessness
    for better days that never came

    They were such ones as you,
    with their joys and frustrations. 15
    Then one day they were told to leave, to go
    and start from scratch elsewhere, rootless.

    They, like you, would not say no –
    you would be foolish to! Yet how lovingly
    and longingly, how tearfully they clung to 20
    those age-smeared walls, unable to unmoor.
    But do not let me upset you. Sentiment
    Cannot avail now. Besides you have your
    daily wage to earn. You may break them down.

    Only, please, do try and be gently. 25
    People used to live there.


    Bulldoze: to destroy buildings etc with a bulldozer
    Scar: a permanent mark on one’s skin after having had a cut.
    Meager: an amount of food or money which is too small and is much less than needed
    Wearied (weary): very tired or bored because you have been doing something for a long time
    Frustrations: The state of being annoyed, upset or impatient because of a bad situation which you cannot change
    Scratch: to start something with nothing having been done previously
    Unmoor: to detach something from something
    Sentiment: One’s opinion or feeling about something or feeling of pity, love, sadness etc.
    Avail: help or useful


    a) Personification:
    …naked and bald bear
    … what secrets they hold…

    b) Metaphor:

    c) Synecdoche
    Heaven: heaven or sky is a place where the adherents of the monotheistic religions (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) believe God lives. Most often this place is used to refer to God. This name has gradually become an alternative for God. In literature when a part of something is used to represent a whole or vice versa it is referred to as synecdoche. This is exemplified in the following line of the poem: Heaven only knows what scars those walls
    now naked and bald bear… (line 7-8)
    The word heaven used in this line certainly refers to God.

    d) Apostrophe: The whole poem is an apostrophe. This is because it addressing an absent being as though it were present right in front of him.

    e) Repetition: The following lines and expressions occurred in the poem repeatedly.
    … what … (line 6&7)
    … Here …(line 10 &11)
    …they… (line 8,10,12,13,14,,16,18, 20)
    …who (line 9)
    Sound Devices
    a) Alliteration: The repetition of the same or similar consonant sound at the beginning of words in the same line of poetry.
    Brothers, break… (Line 1). Two consonant sounds b and r have been repeated.
    ..be bulldozed and leveled down(line 4)
    … mere mud… (line 3)
    Those… always… walls
    …knows what scars those walls
    b) Assonance: The repetition of the same or similar vowel sound in the same line of poetry
    … make way for a new highway. (Line 5) the / eI / has been repeated.
    They, like you, would not say no –
    you would be foolish to!...

    This poem discusses a demolishing exercise being undertaking by a group of young men the persona addresses as ‘brothers’. These people are carrying out this exercise in order to give way for construction of a highway which will bring development to the area. The persona is pleading with them to be gently in the assignment they are executing because it was a settle that was dear to the people’s heart. The occupants of the area were asked to evacuate the place in order to give way for the construction of a highway. They obeyed. Because they liked development or they feared the power that was.
    This poem tells us how difficult it is to ‘unmoor’ (detach) oneself from a place one has lived all his life only to be ordered one day (unprepared, unplanned) to leave the place for a new settlement he or she has not known all his or her life.
    27 October 2012Comment
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