An Analysis of Bitter Waters Translated By Shash Trevett

Bitter Waters (Translated by Shash Trevett)

See these lines on my upturned palm.

They are the rivers of tears
that have washed my face.

They are the rivers of blood
that have washed my land.

Flowing first in trickles, then streams
and then in torrents:

they are the swells of voices
that have cried out our shame.

They are the swell of voices
that have cried out our shame.

They lie etched on my skin,
coursing through the creases and ridges

to pool into stories and tales.

I shall tell if these
for the generations to come.

See these hands all twisted and bent. 

These are the scars I bear 
instead of children.

O Motherland, look not to me
 for your warrior.

Bitter Waters exudes the themes of conflicts, bloodshed and some form of political instability.

This poem is written as a free-verse to reflect the overflow of emotions almost like water. There are no rhymes which reflects the intensity and seriousness of the poem. The free-verse can also be reflections of chaos where the events or conflict reigns without amendments of order or justice.

The line ‘see the lines in my upturned palm’ almost embodies the meander of a river which is very easy to imagine should you look at your palm. The line ‘ They are rivers of tears’ that have washed my face’ consolidates the imagery of water. This is further intensified by ‘They are rivers of blood that have washed my land’  The imagery of water continues with the phrases ‘tickle’, ‘speech’ and then ‘torrents’ to illustrate the build of chaos and the intensity of the issue. Then we are left with the final water imagery where voices pools into stories and tales.

Final Thoughts
The final line ‘O Motherland, look not to me for your warrior’. I like this line because its powerful. I say powerful because the writers tells the motherland not to expect fighting, strength, ardour or even patriotism.


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