In the poem ‘Blessing’, Imtiaz Ali bases the poem on a situation in which water is a very rare commodity and describes the scene that is created on the special occasion when water is available in plenty.
The title of the poem is short, but not straightforward. When a reader initially reads the title ‘blessing’, the reader has no clue as to what the poem will be about. The first thing that came to my mind when I read the title was that the theme of the poem would relate to something religious, more specifically the Muslim religion, as it is written by a Pakistani Poet. However, it metaphorically symbolizes how much a common resource such as water is treasured. Imtiaz Dharker has deliberately done this to create suspense on what the poem is about, shocking the reader when he/ she starts to read it.
Imtiaz Dharker has written this poem in 3rd person where he narrates a moment in time when water is available in an area. The poem is structured into 4 uneven stanzas in free verse further imposing the theme of the poem- the inconsistency in water availability.
The first stanza introduces the theme with the quote ‘there is never enough water’. The suspense on what the poem is about is then broken as the reader is now aware that the poem is based on water scarcity. To further impose this theme in this verse, the poet has used the quote ‘the skin cracks like a pod’ which creates an image of dry, dehydrated skin. The use of simile here, along with the onomatopoeia ‘cracks’ creates a vivid image in the readers mind making them feel as if they too are dehydrated and are craving for water.
In the next stanza, Dharker has created vivid images that make the reader crave and understand the importance of a common resource such as water. A simple sentence such as ‘imagine the drip of it’ can make the reader feel so intrigued by something that we usually take for granted. When the reader reads the word ‘imagine’ the reader automatically forms an image in their mind on what the poet is describing. By using such a small but powerful word, Dharker has been able to draw the attention of the reader and make them focus on the message he is trying to portray.
Other images that support this are ‘the small splash’ and ‘echo in a tin mug’. The poet has created sound images to create an overall sensory depiction of a picture that has a very strong impact on the reader.
The poet has very vividly symbolized water as a treasure to the people living near by. The quotes ‘Sometimes, with the sudden rush of fortune’ and ‘silver crashes to the ground’ are seen to support this idea. The use of the prefix ‘sometimes’ further imposes how rare water is available in the area. The uses of the words ‘fortune’ and ‘silver’ metaphorically symbolize water. The poet has tried to convey the message of how water is a natural form of money that is needed to live in this world, without which there would be no life.
Dharker has created an atmosphere of of urgency through this poem further imposing how important water is as a resource. A quote to support this would be ‘has found a roar of tongues’ and ‘naked children screaming in the liquid sun’. ‘The roar of tongues’ is a great example of the use of imagery where the reader gets a sense of the urgency of how necessary water is. The poet has deliberately used this to make the reader feel sympathetic towards the people and appreciate a resource that we usually take for granted. ‘The naked children screaming in the liquid sun’ further imposes this idea. The use of the word ‘screaming’ is usually used in a situation of urgency or extreme happiness. In this case, it relates to both. By finding ‘treasure’, the people of the place are ecstatic and ‘frantic hands ‘ cant seem to stay away from the water.
The use of ‘naked children’ suggests that the people in this area are struck by poverty and ‘liquid sun’ suggests the setting of the poem, being in a very dry and hot sunny place.
The lack of punctuation used in the 3rd stanza helps further impose the idea of urgency in the poem. ‘Every man woman child for streets around buts in’ is a quote to support this. The lack of punctuation automatically makes the reader read this line in a hurry therefore making the reader feel a sense of exhaustion and hurriedness. Further more, ‘every man woman child’ suggests that so many people rely on one ‘municipal pipe’ further imposing the rarity of water in the area.
We take many things for granted in our lives. Water, food and electricity are just a few. The poem ‘Blessing’ by Imtiaz Dharker sends a reality check to those who are not aware of it. Through this poem, Dharker sends a strong message of how many parts of the world don’t receive common resources such as water making the reader feel more genuinely appreciative of the things they get. The poet uses several language techniques in order to portray this message, which is successful, impacting the reader at great heights with such simple words.