Comparing and Contrasting Wole Soyinka and John Pepper Clark’s Poems of the Same Name, Abiku

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Both poems entitled Abiku discuss the title child who returns to haunt his family after dying at a young age. However, they are formatted and presented in different manners to give alternate meanings to the story presented. The first, written by Wole Soyinka, is written in stanzas, while John Pepper Clark’s is in block form. However, they also share a variety of qualities in common, such as nature imagery and belief in incarnation. One similarity between Soyinka’s and Clark’s poems is the belief in incarnation. Both discuss the Abiku, which is a young child who dies before reaching puberty and continues to haunt his mother after his passing. First, Soyinka’s poem contains specific instances in which the Abiku torments his previous …show more content…
Both poems entitled Abiku discuss the title child who returns to haunt his family after dying at a young age. However, they are formatted and presented in different manners to give alternate meanings to the story presented. The first, written by Wole Soyinka, is written in stanzas, while John Pepper Clark’s is in block form. However, they also share a variety of qualities in common, such as nature imagery and belief in incarnation. One similarity between Soyinka’s and Clark’s poems is the belief in incarnation. Both discuss the Abiku, which is a young child who dies before reaching puberty and continues to haunt his mother after his passing. First, Soyinka’s poem contains specific instances in which the Abiku torments his previous family, such as “suck[ing] the oil/From lamps” (Soyinka 25-26) and “be[ing] the/Suppliant snake coiled on the doorstep” (Soyinka 27-28). In addition, it states that “[he is] Abiku, calling for the first/And the repeated time” (Soyinka 3-4), showing that he will be returning many times to torture his mother. In comparison, the poem by Clark also shows a strong sense of the incarnation throughout its entirety. For example, he states that the Abiku has been “coming and going these several seasons,” (Clark 1), meaning as he has been returning to his mother time after time. Secondly, Clark explains that the Abiku treated his mother so horribly that “her body is tired/Tired her milk going sour/Where many more mouths gladden the heart” (Clark 23-25),
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