Friday, July 15, 2011

7/15/2011 09:14:00 PM - , 2 comments

Heritage of Words - Grandmother

1)    Grandmother

The poem ‘Grandmother’ was composed by an American Indian poet Ray Young Bear. He was born in 1950 in mesquaki tribe. In the poem, the poet depicts a picture of his grandmother: all-loving and all-inspiring. Metaphorically, the poem ‘Grandmother’ has connection with Mesquaki tribe and the identity of the poet.

The poet expresses his attachment and intimacy with his grandmother. Though his grandmother is no more with him, her image with the purple scarf and the plastic shopping bag, her impression and behavior lead him to the past. At the present moment the image becomes vivid and as fresh as earlier. He loves her so much because she is loving and inspiring. He claims that he could easily recognize her shape from a mile away. When she touched on his head with her hands, he would feel warm and damp hands with the smell of roots. Not only this, he would also easily know her words coming from the rock. These words would flow inside him and inspire him to choose the right path. Therefore, her image, words and love creates nostalgic feeling to the poet. Still now, there is deep stamp of grandmother’s love and reminiscences in to his mind.

Metaphorically, the poet is Ray Young Bear’s attempt to reflect the vanishing native roots of the Native American tribes, specially the Mesquaki tribe. Metaphorically, ‘Grandmother’ is the representative of Mesquaki tribe and its culture, values and traditions. The rituals, culture and traditions of Native Americans are being overtaken by the white people and the natives have been marginalized. ‘The smell of roots’ refers to the vanishing ancestral culture and tradition lying dead in the grave. ‘A voice coming from the rock’ suggests that his grandmother has died now so her words are coming from the tombstone. Similarly, ‘sleeping fire’ refers to the vanishing Red Indian culture as well as poor condition of the poet in Mesquaki tribe. Overall, the poem gives a metaphorical expression of the painful awareness of the identity loss.

The poem in a sense deals with the images that appear to our different senses. For instance, the images of purple scarf plastic shopping bag, sleeping fire and night appeal to our sense of sight. The smell of roots refers to our sense of smell. Similarly, the voice coming from the rock and her words appeals to our sense of sound. ‘Warm and damp hands’ appeals to our sense of touch. Thus, all his senses are affected by the memory of his grandmother excepting the sense of taste.    


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