Posts Tagged ‘“There’ll Always Be an England”’

In Response to “A Far Cry From Africa”

Wednesday, April 17th, 2013

I personified Africa as is it were crying from a far in, “A Far Cry From Africa”

In the first four lines of the poem Walcott describes the terrain and the state of Africaand how like the Kikuyu, who have an agricultural economy, other countries like America have benefitted from African people or Africa’s natural resources like diamonds and coffee.  If other countries would have left Africa alone there would probably be less corpses scattered through the paradise. “Only the worm, colonel of carrion, cries”: Colonel-a French and English word, parts of Africa have been colonized by the French, English nation have stolen Africans. Carrion-Anglo French word as well meaning rotting flesh. Colonels of carrion are the worm. Think of an apple with a worm in it borrowing through destroying the entire apple for its own health. Colonels of Carrion cry out, “Waste no compassion on these separate dead.” Clinton did not save Africans as soon as he could, many countries turn a blind eye to Africa and their troubles and consider Africa dead already. “Statistics justify and scholars seize”- Do not underestimate the half meanings in this poems, they speak for themselves. “The salient of colonial policy”- colonial to me goes back to the British embarking on the new world, pushing the natives out and setting up shop on new land, colonialism is the begininning of a rotting apple due to a worm that is colonialism. The term color white is innocents not the race in the first stanza: “What is that to the white child hacked in bed?” “To savages, expendable as Jews?”: similar to how Jews were murdered in the Holocaust.  Africa has been “threshed out by beaters” and the white dust from the beating of Africa spreads like white birds(ibises) whose cries have wheeled since the dawn of civilization where all humans come from. The uprightman seeking his divinity (spread of Christianity) by inflicting pain. “While he calls courage still that native(natives dread what he calls courage)/ dread of the white peace(white peace-death) contracted by the dead.”

“Again brutish necessity wipes its hands/ upon the napkin of a dirty cause, again/ a waste of compassion, as with Spain,/ the gorilla wrestles with the superman.”-gorilla, a wild or native animal that must be colonized by a white superman. At least Walcott curses the drunken officer of British rule. Walcott does not betray both, he gives back what they give through poems like this. How can he have both forces dwell in him and not be enraged? He asks, How can we turn from Africa and live?

A Far Cry from Africa

Sunday, April 14th, 2013

As Julia’s earlier post touched on, Walcott seems to ground us as his audience most specifically in terms of location, often through his titles; however, in his piece “A Far Cry from Africa,” I found the notion of “Africa” to be much more abstracting than stabilizing. Rather than “Africa,” Walcott’s title maybe improved upon by being more specific to the REAL issue at hand: “A Far Cry from Africanness.” If this sounds silly and reductive, that’s because it is, linguistically. But on some level, isn’t this what Walcott is actually addressing in this piece?

In any case, it seemed awfully timely to focus on this piece right after the Multicultural Fair, because that is precisely what strikes me most about it– how poignantly and obviously MULTIcultural it is. The cultural awareness does not necessarily stem from racial differences, although that’s definitely a huge aspect of it– just the sheer number of times Walcott brings “whiteness” into the text stands out in itself. However, it is the idea of betrayal of one’s heritage rather than race that sticks out the most– “Where shall I turn, divided to the vein?” (27) This is reminiscent of some of the language Langston Hughes uses when he writes of his biracial background, and yet he has accepted and exemplified his own blackness in no uncertain terms. I think it is always difficult knowing “where to turn” in situations of multinational understanding of the self. Thoughts, yeses and nos?

Incidentally, did anyone notice that the first stanza of this piece has ten lines, the second has eleven, and the third has twelve? Weird… 🙂

Also, for your viewing/listening pleasure:

“Africa” by Toto, an 80s classic. I still can’t quite figure out what they’re talking about, though…