A comparison between Not to forgive wasting time and Nothings Changed
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The poem ‘Not to forgive wasting time’ is about standing up for what you believe in. The Hutu/Tutsi conflict in Rwanda in 1994 is the main issue of this poem. I think the ideas the poet Al Gobus wants us to think about whilst reading this poem is the shock of today, these types of mass genocide are still appearing all over the world. He writes ‘can we not learn from this cruel seemingly ever contemporary history’. In my opinion this shows me that he is trying to explain how we should learn from this, and how at this stage in history, it shouldn’t be happening. By the word ‘seemingly’ he’s suggesting that it keeps happening.
The poem ‘Nothings Changed’ generally is about how over years of trying to abolish the ‘black and white’ division, its still there. In the poem, Tamtamkhulu Afrika is in my opinion trying to express his anger of the situation, and trying to make us the readers understand this, which very clearly and cleverly achieves this. Technically, this event is called the ‘Apartheid’ meaning ‘Separate-ness in Africans’.
The atmosphere of the poem ‘Not to forgive wasting time’ is some sort of frustration and aggravated. He says ‘Will we not ever learn to be deaf to those men?’ I think this means ‘why do we keep doing this and how can we let this happen?’ I believe the poet is so strongly trying to get answers from the readers as he gets more and more frustrated throughout the poem. Also by using the pronoun ‘we’ it shows me that he is without a doubt addressing the audience and himself. He lastly uses a rhetorical question and I think he does this to symbolise that we as the audience should be thinking about this.
The mood of ‘Nothings Changed’ is irritated and upset. This is shown in the line ‘inwards turning anger of my eyes’. This shows me that instead of saying ‘anger of my eyes’ he mentions ‘inwards turning’ which gives a more detailed description of how angry and emotional he’s feeling. When reading this line, it puts a unmistakeable picture in my head. It also gives a sense of slow motion whilst reading the sentence of the eyes moving little by little.
A phrase I find interesting in ‘Not to forgive wasting time’ is ‘the fabric of life, missharpened miswoven, its bas belief.’ I like this because it’s a deliberate attempt to include a metaphor, and in my opinion it’s really thorough and descriptive when describing the conflict. The word ‘miswoven’ is symbolising how something has gone wrong, and how easily it can be fixed, like the conflict.
Later on in the poem it says ‘we will find the world fashioned by us’ which suggests to me ‘the fabric of life’ is now being used as ‘fashion by us’, almost as its okay, and everyone is letting this happen, because it’s a trend and no-one is willing to stand up for this. These two quotes really interest me as they are clearly and cleverly linked.
Likewise, a quote I find interesting in the poem ‘Nothings Changed’ is ‘soft labouring of my lungs.’ The word ‘labouring’ demonstrates to me that he is trying very hard to breathe, and that it’s a struggle. The fact he uses this word in a quote describing breathing, to me shows he is finding it upsetting and heart-quenching to truly breathe. By using the word ‘soft’ he is juxtaposing the different angles of the quote, as the word soft when mentioned in a line breathing should usually be seen as graceful, peaceful and calm. I think Tamtamkhulu is trying to use the word however as the emotion of sadness and sorrow.
A couple of techniques the poet Al Gobus uses in ‘Not to forgive wasting time’ is firstly repetition. He uses this in the lines ‘When life is held precious, when difference is honoured, when all by loving all of life’. I think Al uses this to drum the word ‘when’ in the reader’s head, almost like a beat to create a strong argumentative tone of ‘when, when, when’ as if he’s screaming the words at you. By repeating the word ‘when’ its coming across to me that he feels as if he is going on about it, because it keeps happening, he’s tired of saying ‘when this happened’.
Another technique Al Gobus uses is emotive language. He says ‘by doing so we, the people, would be co-conspirators in the crime’. This shows me that the poet is trying to involve us in the poem by addressing us and himself as ‘we’. Also as he’s talking about ‘crime’ he is clearly trying to show us and move guilt on to us as we’re reading the poem.
In comparison ‘Nothings Changed’ Tamtamkhulu uses a variety of techniques. Firstly he uses an onomatopoeia in the line ‘trodden on, crunch.’ This is a useful way of making a line more descriptive as using this, almost makes a similar noise to what you are describing as you read it out loud.
He also uses a clear contrast in the first stanza. The first half of the stanza is negative by using phrases such as ‘bearded seeds’, which doesn’t really put a pleasant picture in ones head. Whereas in the second half of the stanza he uses lines such as ‘purple flowering’ which is good, and shows a more cheery side to the poem which is also shown by the word ‘amiable’ meaning ‘friendly’.
‘Not to forgive wasting time’ is structured simply, having 6 stanzas, all varied in size. In the first couple of stanzas, Al Gobus is more describing what’s happening and unfolding the truth of it. He says ‘Bodies strewn akimbo across a church yard of sorts’ which is showing you that people are being killed and not why they are. Later on in the poem he says ‘Instigated by the power crazed politicos’ which means ‘getting started by the politicians’ which is more describing why its happening and maybe how we could prevent it. I think he has done it like this because he wants to show the contrast of what’s happening in the first bit, showing how sad and confused he is, and then lastly getting angry and opinionated.
Tamtamkhulu structures ‘Nothings Changed’ in a similar way having 7 stanzas and each line quite short, but very detailed. He says ‘new, up-market, haute cuisine’ which shows me what an impact using short lines could achieve instead of saying loads and rambling on. By using short lines he also attains attention and more enters the brain. The effect of also structuring his poem like this also gives an impression of sadness, almost a struggle to read it which inevitably is the main theme of the poem.
In conclusion, both poems ‘Not to forgive wasting time’ and ‘Nothings Changed’ are both showing the upmost anger and emotional distress of both the poets. ‘Not to forgive wasting time’ to me makes me feel angry, and argumentative as the pointlessness of the conflict really does take its toll on you. Whereas in ‘Nothings changed’ the frustration and sorrow for all the people makes me feel sad and makes me want to do something to help. In my opinion both poems are equal in greatness and in techniques, which individually makes each poem brilliant.