The poem tells of a storm violent storm moving, this storm makes its way towards an African village causing havoc has it moves toward and through the village having the trees themselves bending over the strength of the winds. Clouds heavy with rain moving quickly, children laugh and shout as the storm makes it way but the mothers take them as they try to find shelter from the storm. The duality of the actual storm and colonization in the poem gives a hidden meaning in lines of the poem much like those of the songs of the slaves.
Stanza by stanza analysis
The first stanza gives the reader the imagery of the storm moving across the sky and the direction in which it is coming from, the west, this may also be a reference to the intrusion of colonizers in from the west. The “worldwide” of them entering Africa. “From the west
Clouds come hurrying with the wind
Here and there “showing the manic movement of the “storm”
“Like a plague of locusts
Tossing up things on its tail” locust are pests which cause huge devastation and where they go and are feared. The storm has an ominous feeling to it, out of control, ready to cause havoc. These people came and just like locusts sucked the contents dry of its resources, the people, etc.
“Like a madman chasing nothing ‘again showing the manic movement of the storm and sets the tone for the rest of the poem, the violent frenzy of what could be colonialism.
Again we get more imagery of the sky, clouds heavy with rain described as being pregnant for the emphasis of them ready to burst ready to pour rain on the land. But what is about to be unleashed? The clouds are high in the sky thing to look up at that could be a reference to how these colonizers see themselves or how they perceive that people see them”Pregnant clouds Ride stately on its back, ” the word stately brings contrast as it means pristine, proper and order whereas the storm is meant to be disorderly. The stately proper men
“Gathering to perch on hills
Like sinister dark wings;” this line again bringing the ominous feeling, like a bird of prey waiting, looking for its target.
The mear mass and force of this storm as it travels is depicted through the last line of the stanza”The wind whistles by And trees bend to let it pass.” As the trees bent it could be signifying that the tree is showing that the storm is stronger from acknowledging a superior
“In the village
Screams of delighted children,
Toss and turn” the innocence of children personified, they do not understand the danger of the storm and see it as exciting which is in contrast to the mothers looking for shelter from the storm. This is the first stanza that lets us see how the storm is affecting the people.
“Women, Babies clinging on their backs Dart about In and out”. The repetition of the last line shows the emphasis on the strength of the storm and also to show movement. “The wind whistles by Whilst trees bend to let it pass.”
The storm as finally settled on the village the stanza again gives the imagery of a violent storm tearing up the village. “Clothes wave-like tattered flags
The emphasis of the onomatopoeia “Rumble, tremble and crack” allow the reader to get a vivid picture of the destruction caused by the storm. But the relentless storm continues not caring about the carnage that it has left behind “And the pelting march of the storm.”
- “Like a plague of locusts, ” the storm is coming with a destructive force
- “Like a madman chasing nothing.” Show the chaotic movement of the storm
- “Like sinister dark wings;” showing the harshness and “evil” of the storm
- “From the west
Clouds come hurrying with the wind
- “…on their backs Dart about In and out”.
- “Clothes wave-like tattered flags Flying off”
- “Rumble, tremble and crack”
- “The wind whistles”
- .”Pregnant clouds,” not literal pregnant clouds but clouds filled with fain
- The wind whistles
- Man vs nature