An Analysis Of ‘A Guest May Come’ By Vojka Djikic

A Guest May Come by Vojka Djikic
(Translated by Chris Agee)

Hold on tight to me
And we’ll find the way home.
There the fire’s still burning
And in the corners
Book lie open
That ought to be read
And the garden’s there to dig
The roses to prune.
Thus it was said
When we mend the roof
And paint the red door red
A guest may come

When I was reading this piece, the biggest question that came to my mind is who could the ‘guest’ be? I gathered that it may be someone important because in certain traditions the host prepare the home when receiving a special guest by ensuring the house is clean. It seems that perhaps this is what is going on in this poem. However, on second reflection, the guest could be a season like Spring. The main giveaway to this is that roses are often pruned in spring in which is mentioned in the eighth line. This reinforces the interpretation that this piece could be about spring cleaning. Another farfetched interpretation is applying these words to death. When reading it from this view, it gives us a different perspective.

Poetic Techniques

No Rhyme
The use of rhyme is quite minimal in this piece although we get some rhyme with words like said and red. Nonetheless, the lack of rhyme helps the reader to take the poem more seriously.

No Punctuation
The lack of punctuation in this piece increases the pace and intensifies the issue. If read in this pace, then perhaps the reader can feel the pressure, anxiety and disorder the narrator faces.

The narrative of this piece is quite active. It tells the reader what to do through sentences like ‘Hold on tight to me’ and ‘we’ll make the way home’. Then the piece goes on to list the things that needs to be done such as books in the corner that lie open but ‘ought to be read, ‘ a garden there to dig’, ‘roses to prune’,  ‘roof to mend’ and the quite humorous line  of ‘paint the red door red’. This narrative can even reflect a relationship where the wife is giving her husband a long list of chores just before the guest arrives.

I enjoy the various dimensions of interpretation this poem exudes and I hope you enjoyed reading my analysis. Thank you very much for your time!


3 responses to “An Analysis Of ‘A Guest May Come’ By Vojka Djikic”

  1. Thank you for making me look again at this poem. At first I thought it was defiance but now I think it is also about hope. Making sure the red door cannot be missed by the guest ‘peace’ and expectation,, the books to be read. Just. Beautiful. I am81 years old and I am just learning to use the internet. So no punctuation as yet .

    Ian exile from apartheid in 1964

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great idea to to know familiarise us with Bosnian poets.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I understand it abit differently I suppose, like guest could be something good or bad that you facing in life. The book could signify it’s all within self if we listen and pruning etc is cleaning up the garden, the emotional baggage.. the dark side that’s hidden within that we tend not to face but it rules our lives. Like Robert Brownings poem I walked a mile in pleasure, I felt it was my life story. All my life I lived in a higher vibration and never listened to the voice within and suddenly the vibration dropped and it’s like you thrown in hell and that’s when I really started learning.. when I was in pain. Poetry is beautiful and I really appreciate it.


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