The poems I will be comparing today are ‘Island Man’ by Grace Nicholas and ‘Limbo’ by Kamau Brathwaite. Both of these poets have mixed-race backgrounds and both of these poems are linked in with the difficulties arising from having different cultural backgrounds, having moved from their homeland. The poem ‘Island Man’ is written by Grace Nicholas. While the poem, ‘Limbo’, is written by Edward Kamau Brathwaite who was born on May 11, 1930 in the capital city of Barbados.
The sequence of the poem starts with an idea that the character is waking up before moving on to the memories of the Caribbean Island, and then back to the reality of London. Comparatively to the poem Limbo which shows the transportation of slaves from their home land to the new world. This is illustrated in the lines: “Wakes up to the sound of the sea” and “water in front of me.” Both this quotes suggest that both poems are set in quite similar locations but they are very opposite when it comes to the circumstances the poems are set in. It also shows that In Island man we have somebody who has been taking out of their own culture, presumably a sunny Caribbean Island and transplanted into somewhere different completely alien in this case the dark grey streets of London. Island man uses sensual imagery to allow the reader to imagine characters, mood, and settings, for example, they used the word ‘blue’ so the reader can hear and visualise the sea, similarly in Limbo it uses imagery to put his feelings forward for example “limbo like me” to either mean the reader to join him in this dance or to join him in limbo. Limbo also uses words to talk about the harsh and unwanted transportations, on the slave ships, to the colonies of New York using rhythm and cultural/historical meaning of Limbo but also to mimic the rhythm of the ocean waves and the awful slave routines In contrast with Island Man which focuses on everyday life in two incomparable locations.
In Island man the poet also uses a change of rhythm in the poem. This is illustrated in the lines: “groggily groggily”. This conveys the stress of the man’s feelings of reluctance as he wakes up and realises he is in London not the dreamlike Caribbean. The poet uses it split up both parts of the poem. It also highlights the mood of the Island man as he wakes to his reality. He is disappointed when he remembers that he is in London. Grace Nicholas also uses an absence of punctuation to allow the poem to flow, giving it a dreamlike quality, the lack of a full stop at the end of the poem shows that the ongoing nature of his unhappiness living in London. Island Man is written in 4 stanzas. The line length and number of lines in each stanza are different which gives the poem a confused feel, this represents the Island Man’s own confusion at waking up in London when he has been vividly dreaming of being in the Caribbean. The poem also mimics the skyline of a city in London. However in Limbo there is no pattern or a particular structure to the poem, this might be to represent or mirror the way the slaves are tightly packed together onto the ship