“SOLDIER” (A TALE OF WAR) | SPOKEN WORD BY MAC ALUNGE | STRAWACADEMY REVIEW
(A TALE OF WAR)
The slam Soldier is one that tells the painful story of a once hopeful and optimistic youth with aspirations to become someone great. A child was born to his parents which brings joy and hope for the future. Soldier, so loved by his parents, a gift from God and a gem to the world was raised with love. He got support from his father and mother which gave him a drive to dream big. He had a great vision and his only desire was ‘To inspire Africa to reach higher to raise the bar to go far’. His parents blessed him so he could make great achievements like Obama and Mandela and be as great as Isaiah and Elijah. The setting of the poem is in an African nation – Cameroon, during a time of social unrest in the two English speaking regions of the country. The writer paints a picture of a well-constructed and beautiful life in a scenario of peace and in the absence of violence. But this is not the case as the character in the poem meets a terrible fate by the time he comes of age when he falls in love and loses his lover due to extreme violence.
There are two main reasons for what is going on in the poem;
- The social unrest in the area that led to the death of Soldier’s lover, Esther.
- The actual killing of Esther which led to Soldier’s transformation.
A building tends to collapse if its pillars are no longer firm or are brought down. Whatever one considers their pillar is what makes them strong and keeps them going. In this poem, Esther was Soldier’s ‘pillar’ – “She will become his rock, his everything, his pillar”. So, the attack on this pillar ruined his life.
This poem is a clear picture of the pain felt by citizens of a nation in crisis. The writer seeks for us to understand the torture and agony inflicted on the victims of perpetrators of violence and its terrible consequences. As a consequence of losing his lover in such tragic manner, Soldier became traumatized – “Weeks later, Soldier would develop a fever, He would dream of Esther’s murder, And see the face of her killer…”. This poem mainly centers on the affliction that Soldier has been left to endure which has cost him even his dreams; the once so beautiful dreams he had. He became driven, motivated and controlled by pain, anger and hurt – “Pain would become his master, Anger his minister, Hurt his inspirer…”. He felt abandoned and went from good to bad. His pain and anger intensified due to the fact that the killer was so unremorseful which points out the latter’s extreme wickedness and inhumanity.
The writer makes use of vivid description to show the intensity of the feelings of pain Soldier experiences. Esther’s killer is also vividly described with a frightening aura surrounding him – “…Stood the likeness of an armed man, Covered all in black, He had the look of death himself… With hate and disgust he stared at soldier…”. This appeals to the reader/listener’s senses and imagination. The writer uses sensory details to enable the reader/listener see, smell, hear taste and feel what he describes.
The writer makes use of various themes in this poem;
- Birth: The birth of Soldier
- Celebration: This can be seen through the joy and happiness brought by the baby’s birth.
- Love: Seen through the family love between Soldier and his parents and through the love between the former and Esther.
- Coming of age: The plot moves from childhood to adulthood.
- Death: The death of Esther
- Vengeance: Soldier’s strong desire to avenge Esther’s death.
- War: – The war within Soldier as a result of Esther’s death.
-The war going on in the society at the time the events in the poem take place.
The writer’s tone goes from optimistic, to sad and angry.
The rhyme scheme and rhythm are perfect and bring musicality to the ears and the mind of the listener/reader. Their recurrence turn the poem into music.
Before the turbulence, Soldier’s only desire was “To inspire Africa to reach higher to raise the bar to go far”, but now his desire is vengeance – “…And Vengeance his desire…Once a little wonder but now a living monster”. This comes about to show to what extent violence is bad and how much it can change people. When people hurt others, the consequences of their actions go a long way to destabilize the lives of their victims. Taking a look at Soldier’s life from childhood, it is only normal to expect that he becomes all that he aspired to be in future and not the opposite as it turned out to be (Situational Irony).
- Simile –“Blood oozed out of her like a river”
– “Tears poured out of him like a river”
- Metaphor – “Soldier was a gift from our heavenly father”
- Adnomination – “It started on a Monday, the Month of November”
- Alliteration – “Taught by teacher after teacher”
- Assonance – “Inspired by one preacher after another”
In the slam ‘SOLDIER’, we see joy, happiness, Love, hope, pain, sorrow, anger and a thirst for vengeance. Life which was full of great dreams for a young child became a nightmare. This Soldier can be anyone who is a victim of violence. We are left to wonder what will become of Soldier and his enemy in the next part – ‘Soldier, The Acrimonious Guitar’.
Ekoli Kinge Miriam
#Soldier #Art4Peace #MacAlunge
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