Poetry About Mans Relationship With Nature English Literature Essay


Poetry written in English in Tanzania is a comparatively recent phenomenon that dates back to about three and a half decennaries. The gait of growing of this authorship has been every bit slow. This should non be surprising to people who are familiar with Tanzania ‘s literary history. But the state has a rich Kiswahili literary tradition that dates back to over 300 old ages. In his attempts to mobilise workers and provincials in the procedure of national release, the state ‘s establishing male parent, Julius Nyerere, thought Kiswahili would be a powerful tool for mental decolonisation – a critical facet of the procedure of national release. Nyerere ‘s attempt dullard fruit, for despite legion cultural groups – about 120 folks in Tanzania – approximately 98 % of the population aptly communicates in Kiswahili, the national and official linguistic communication.

Subject in Tanzania poesy, like in its prose and drama, reflects non merely the political thoughts of the state but besides the public penchant for a peculiar literature for the sort of society Tanzania envisages. The poesy demonizes persons who are concerned with tampering and rupturing up societal systems and replacing them with egoistic 1s. Tanzania poets like poets from elsewhere in Africa engage the topic of the pre-colonial, colonial and post colonial issues in their poetries. My aim is to analyze how, at symbolic degree, the assorted poets have captured facets of nature in their poetries as they engage the assorted issues of the three epochs. I endeavour to look into whether or non the poets are witting about and assist speed up the impressiveness of nature as a chief spouse in human life. My statement is informed by the ecocritical attack that sees natural environment as the epicentre of interrelation of all life and hence the demand to safeguard it by both poet and critic by raising consciousness.

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Of Ecocriticism as the Informing Theory

A figure of bookmans have, for the past two to three decennaries, been preoccupied with the construct of nature in literary originative plants. It is non by accident that literary surveies should take such a dimension.Barry Commoner ‘s first jurisprudence of ecology declares therefore: “ Everything is connected to everything else, ” intending that literature is non needfully an abstract construct which is disconnected from the stuff universe, instead, it has an ethical function in an perfectly complex universal system in which affair, energy and thoughts relate in one manner or the other. As a consequence, literary battle at both the degree of creative activity and unfavorable judgment continues to intrigue with the manner that nature informs and forms human thought. Although Stephanie Sarver ( 1995 ) avers that “ ecocriticism “ – a term invented by William Rueckert – is less associated with theoretical setup as with a esthesia, Cheryll Glotfelty – in her definition of ecocriticism – raises pertinent inquiries that can be evaluated and relied upon to organize a footing upon which ecocriticism as a theoretical model operates. She, for illustration, argues that ecocritics and theoreticians ask inquiries such as: How is nature represented in this sonnet? What function does the physical scene drama in this secret plan of this novel? How make our metaphors of the land influence the manner we treat it? How can we qualify nature authorship as a genre? Are the values expressed in this drama consistent with ecological wisdom? How has the construct of wilderness changed over clip? In add-on to race, category and gender, should put go a new critical class? Do work forces compose about nature otherwise from the manner adult females make? What bearing can the scientific discipline of ecology have on literary surveies? How is science itself unfastened to literary analysis? And what cross-fertilisation is possible between literary surveies and environmental discourse in related subjects such as history, doctrine, psychological science, art history and moralss? , among other inquiries.

If these truly are the standards that inform the basic dogmas for ecocritics so Tanzania poesy base on ballss for ecocritical verse forms. In this attack there is nil like nature being simply used as a backdrop.The critic would instead look at the reference of natural phenomena as a particular esthesia on ecology and moralss than expression at them as aesthetic quintessence.

Despite this broad range of enquiry, and changing degrees of edification, all environmental critics underscore the cardinal premiss that human civilization celebrates a symbiotic relationship with the physical universe, act uponing it and influenced by it. Cheryll farther notes that ecocriticism takes as its topic the interconnectednesss between nature and civilization, particularly, cultural artefacts, linguistic communication and literature. As a critical theory, ecocriticism has one pes in literature and the other on the physical environment ; And as theoretical discourse, it negotiates between the human and nonhuman.

The two primary texts of my analysis are Summons edited by Richard Mabala and Selected Poems edited by Tanzania Institute of Education.

Nature ‘s Symbolic Depictions in Selected Poems

Tanzania poesy manifests the animalism of nature ‘s presence as represented by mountains, woods, lakes, birds, fish, animate beings and other phenomena. These natural characteristics that contribute to environmentally and ecologically grounded poesy offer empyreal scenic ponaroma and elevate experiences for poets, critics and general readers. This type of poesy does non build nature as a mere prop to enrich the scene or background. As Lawrence Buell ( 1995 ) observes, poesy that is environmentally witting must do non-human environment built-in non peripheral, aˆ¦make human accountable to the environment and do nature into what it is, more of a procedure than a concept or inactive background.

One of the most moving verse forms on environmental consciousness found in both the anthologies is Alute S. Mghwai ‘s “ Voices from the Wilderness ” . The verse form is a powerful and sensational indictment of adult male ‘s activities on the environment. It employs personification to give both zoologies and vegetations human quality of speaking consecutive to the wrongdoer, the oppressor, to Prospero. The birds protest that they can no longer rest because their home ground, the woods, has been randomly felled by worlds. As a consequence, the birds are exposed to poisonings that are emitted from industries and exploding bombs.

The major sarcasm in this stanza is that the birds are more knowing than human existences in acknowledging the of import function of woods. The birds are portrayed as selfless considerate and intelligent. Next are the fish when they protest that their home ground has been every bit ruined by adult male due to pigboats and oilers that spew oil into the H2O doing it hard for them to take a breath. Both the birds and the fish protest and chide adult male for this ecological intervention that creates unneeded and unsafe instability in the name of development. They question the kernel of development if it comes by destroying the ecological environment in which adult male co-exists with other different signifiers of life.

The wild animate beings: Elephants, Hippo, rhinos, great cats and zebras are besides aggrieved by adult male ‘s insatiate greed for decorations and pleasance at the disbursal of wild life. They are disquieted that adult male has gunned them down for their ivories, teguments, and claws. They dismiss adult male as a savageness being and inquiry his intelligence and edification. They argue that adult male ‘s savageness could merely be explained by his holding been created last as an “ reconsideration ” .

Both zoologies and vegetations eventually put adult male on notice by uncovering that their endurance has been stretched beyond bound and they would shortly stand up for their carnal rights.

In the whole verse form, the symbolic thoughts that adult male has the duty to conserve and protect the environment are clear. The environmental ecology is represented as an equal participant in the existence. By holding the birds, fish and animate beings talk, the poet seems to underline the urgency and seriousness the affair deserves. It besides shows that the devastation of the environment which leads to ecological instability is existent because we are made to hear, see, experience and believe with the affected parties.

This attack strikes all our senses and calls for human answerability to their environment. In this verse form the environment is non a mere metaphor or a inactive background instead, it is a thematic issue of unprecedented concern. The linguistic communication usage concepts worlds as hostile, insensitive, destructive and foolhardy in their subjective human domination. The symbolic message is that non-human environment is an built-in non peripheral spouse in the existence. Although the verse form is a commentary on the impact of the so called developed universe docket on the underdeveloped universe, it is an effectual ecocritical poetry.

Eric Sikuja Ng’maryo ‘s verse form entitled the “ Fountain of Life ” is a symbolic commentary on the envisaged Tanzania ‘s political political orientation at independency. The poet uses the fountain of life, that ‘s, a spring of H2O, as the effectual symbol of the nucleus values of the state ‘s socialist political orientation. The centrality of H2O, good natural H2O as we find it in springs, is depicted as portion and package of human endurance. Because this natural hoarded wealth is limited, people are called upon to be aware of other people ‘s public assistance by leting sharing, in bends and in equal steps. At the get downing it was all all right but with clip, some people resort to victimize communal H2O for private usage. They used “ cupped banana foliages ” and “ coconut shell ” ; others come with pots of all sizes and “ scooped ” the H2O for every bit many times as they so wished. The consequence is that there is an unequal distribution of this of import resource because of grabbing.

In this poem H2O is celebrated as an exhaustible human resource that should be responsibly used to guarantee it serves all people good. If some people misuse it for selfish grounds, so the remainder should unify to hate, protest, and halt them. The usage of coconut shells and banana foliages depicts the community ‘s devotedness in doing good usage of the natural environment by prosecuting in worthwhile activities such as seting both nutrient and hard currency harvests. These harvests non merely supply people with nutrient but besides serve the of import function of both look intoing dirt eroding and conserving H2O. The usage of fountain of life, banana foliages and coconut shells – all drawn from the environment – efficaciously pass on how socialist thoughts in Tanzania came to be ruined by a few persons hotfooting to enrich themselves at the disbursal of the full society.

The sacred Groove by Alexander Muigai is an amazing mention to nature. Natural phenomena such as trees and mountains are depicted as superior human comrades. The mention to Kirinyaga, a revered mountain by people who live near to it, is an illustration of merely how adult male is a topic of peculiar phenomena in his immediate environment. The poet celebrates the age-long “ Holy Tree ” that has been conspicuous among other trees in the “ Sacred Grove ” . Because the tree has “ seen many yearss ” , the character asks it to narrate life ‘s narratives of joy and sorrow, of plentifulness and dearth, of war and peace, of epidemics and wellness, and of grave work forces offering forfeits and supplications at its pes, confronting the Kirinyaga. Apart from foregrounding the of import function of certain trees and mountains in the spiritual personal businesss of humanity, the verse form foregrounds the demand for a passionate attention of immediate environment as people need the beauty of nature around them in order to execute certain spiritual rites. By naming the trees the Sacred Grove, the verse form indicates that it ‘s profane and iniquitous to destruct trees. “ The Sacred Tree ” and the “ Sacred Grove ” are turned to when adult male ‘s psyche needs cleansing and nutriment. Since the name of the tree ( s ) is non revealed, the verse form seems to underline the fact that every tree is sacred and people who cut trees down could be cutting down the sacred trees, their religious lives!

Related to this verse form is “ Doom Ahead ” by Makando Mandia. The verse form gratifies Mt. Kilimanjaro as a symbolic representation of traditional values and wisdom that come merely with age. The persona re-lives “ the beauty in those yearss ” and regrets that the beauty is no longer at that place. Kibo, one of the extremums on the mountain, is used as a symbol of immortality of communal values. Those who live by good social values live long, every bit long as Kibo. The peak represents the past people ‘s socialist ideals of being aware of other peoples ‘ public assistance. It is possible, it appears, for these ideals to populate everlastingly. But as capitalist economy intrudes into people ‘s lives, the really fibres that put them together are lost and common involvements and decency are over-ridden by selfish imperialist involvements. Kibo ‘s usage serves as a changeless reminder to people to look back to their glorious yesteryear in order to turn to the jobs that bedevil them in the present.

Despite the assorted properties of nature depicted from the foregoing verse form, nature may besides be hostile and awful. Manga J.Kingazi ‘s verse form entitled “ The Tenacity ” rebukes nature because the latter threatens life.The verse form navigates the subject of visual aspect versus world by usage of powerful images: the swamp, quick-sand and boggy field. The character advises on usage of a telescope to see them in order to understand how unsafe they are. In other words, nature seaports certain things that are camouflaged to conceal the dangers that they pose. The character admonishes nature despite her generousness. The verse form is a elusive commentary on Tanzania ‘s socialist ideals. Although the ideals seem virtuous there are serious implicit in contradictions that people need to cognize. Failure to acknowledge such reverses, the people could re-live the experience of a boggy field, a swamp and quick-sand. A boggy field is bare and hostile ; a swamp is inhabitable while quick-sand is perennially unstable and hence undependable. All the images represent the dangers that the greathearted nature may be coated with. “ Telescope ” symbolizes adult male ‘s rational capacity to see beyond the normal by prosecuting in critical rating of issues before doing determinations.


My experience in the survey of the two anthologies reveals that the poets have, to an appreciable grade captured nature in their poetries. The challenge remains that poets need to travel a notch higher in sensitising people about the demand to prosecute their physical environment in a more meaningful manner that Fosters descendants. The critics have an every bit of import function to travel beyond the socio-political and engage environmental metaphors utilizing the ecocritic ‘s lens in the poetries they analyze.

The application of ecocriticism as a theoretical attack in assorted signifiers of literary work is long delinquent. There is demand for environmental esthesia to travel in tandem with the planetary tendency today. Indeed, the universe faces environmental crises: planetary heating, deforestation, regionalism, pollution, which are more of a dysfunctional ethical status than a self-generated ecosystem falure.Getting through such jobs requires a multidisciplinary apprehension of peoples ‘ impact on nature with respect to their ethical systems. It is by understanding such ethical systems that people can be sensitized about their function in environmental affairs.


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