‘Night of the Scorpion’ is a poem about a cultural situation which differs from ours. This is a narrative poem from the son’s point of view, whose mother was stung by a Scorpio. The poem is loaded with techniques and devices which project one of the best imageries in the Cluster 1 of the Different Cultures poems, some analysis of which will be developed upon in this essay.
Along the same lines is the poem ‘Blessing’ which is also a different culture poem. It is about water in a hot country and is not particularly the best poem that projects a clear image to me, but it’s certainly one of the most interesting one in Cluster 1.
Firstly, the title of a poem plays a very significant role as the first thing our eyes lock with when reading a poem is the title. The title ‘Night of the Scorpion’ could symbolise the ‘night’ on which something happened relating a Scorpio or its could suggest that something so small and low in status as a Scorpio became such a huge issue that it took up the whole night.
‘Blessing’ on the other hand is a metaphor for the giving/ receiving of water. This ‘blessing’ can be interpreted in a positive or a negative way; the poet could simply intend to present the water as a blessing to the people or on the other hand, water is considered a blessing when you are thirsty, not when you are dying of thirst, then water is a necessity.
The quote “Ten hours of steady rain had driven him to crawl beneath a sack of rice” directly starts to set up the setting for the poem as it tells us that it was ‘raining’ for ‘ten hours’, which was the reason for the Scorpio to crawl under a sack of rice, sheltering from the rain. In my opinion, this creates sympathy for the Scorpio yet it also builds towards fear as he can surprisingly and unexpectedly attack anyone who reaches for the sack of rice.
On the other hand, the poem Blessing opens up with the line “The skin cracks like a pod” where the human skin is compared to a seed pod. It could symbolise the skin drying out to an extent where it faces cracks. The reason to this being the fact that “There never is enough water”. Similarly to the opening in ‘Night of the Scorpion’ this poem creates sympathy for the subject mentioned in the poem. It also generates the concept of the world that the writer is talking about. We already know that there is never enough water in the place where the poem is located hence it drives the people’s skin to crack as a result of lack of water.
Furthermore, the structure of the poems is also an innovative device that can provide various meanings and types of images. The poem Blessing consists of four stanzas where the first one has two lines, the second one has four lines, the third one has eleven lines and the last one has six lines. The structure of this poem can be linked to the meaning of it; from which we can pick up that the structure can represent the flow/ supply of water. At first the water is very insufficient that can be represented by the first stanza. Then the flow of water builds up (second stanza), then we can link the third stanza to a pipe burst where the water bursts and the last stanza can connote the water running out again.
In the poem ‘Night of the Scorpion’ the poet has split the poem into two stanza where the first one is a long and continuous stanza consisting of forty-five lines and the second one consisting of only three lines. This could symbolise the effect of the poison from the Scorpio. The first (long) stanza could represent the time in which the mother was affected by the poison of the Scorpio. The last stanza could represent the time when the poison wore off.
In conclusion, the imagery presented in the two poems in quite unique which helps us to understand some significant stories that originate from another culture which differs from our own.