A Poem on Hypocrisy: Our Heritage, Our Pride by Deola Adelakun


The poet expresses his dissatisfaction with how African people imbibe and retail strange culture and devalues our heritage. Culture is a way of life. Culture explains people and backgrounds. And a man cannot grow beyond the society he/she is brought into.

The poet promotes and appreciates our source and encourages African people to embrace our heritage. He has values for his heritage and he is discouraged by how people abandon their source and strictly imbibe alien culture.

We have disowned our fount, forgotten our source, disrespected our roots, and dishonored our glory. The poet says that the alien culture we imbibe is destroying because it has affected many aspects of the African ways of life.

The foreign language, dressing, education, politics, medicine, eating, etc. have overthrown African ways of life. Many things about Africa today are dictated by the white. It is serious!

The poet declares that as we retail unfamiliar culture; we promote foul language, naked dressings, stupidity, fraudulence, corruption, and chronic diseases. Many disasters that occur in Africa are a result of the culture we imbibe. Series of cultures and customs we don’t know how they are configured.

The poet encourages African people that we have to embrace our culture in Africa and promote it because African culture is our birthplace and pride. Our culture almost dies. If care is not taken, we are still coming to experience the second colonization.

Practice Questions

  1. Describe seven things our heritage symbolizes?
  2. Comment on the use of rhetorical questions in the poem.
  3. Explain how the use of repetitions contributes to the development of the poem.

Resource Link. Read the poem

Knowledge Needed for the Analysis of Poems

Poetry as a piece of literary work, whether spoken or written, expresses and communicates thoughts, ideas, experiences, feelings, and emotions beautifully using imagery, rhythm, and sound. It is usually written in verse with lyrical effects.

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In the effect, a poet, chooses words that convey meanings through their sounds and that also create images in the readers’ minds. Poetry has music, rhythm, and rhyme.

That is words in a poem are arranged in lines, usually with a repeated rhythm, and sometimes with a rhyme in the end. The ideas in a poem are arranged into lines and stanzas.

To analyze a poem, a reader needs to understand how the poet uses words and sound devices to create images and to bring out his meaning. Thus, the following elements which give poetry its uniqueness in language and meaning will be treated.

The following are major forms of poetry: narrative poetry, satirical poetry, dramatic poetry, and lyrical poetry.

     Features of poetry

  • Poetry is written in verse, in the form of stanzas and lines.
  • Poetry is metrical in the arrangement.
  • It is usually lyrical.
  • It makes use of figurative language.
  • It expresses a thought, ideas, and experiences sometimes in a concise form.

         Types of poetry

  • Ballad: the word ‘ballad’ is out of current use. The poem derives from the village festival and is not often written but handed down orally from generation to generation, e.g. Ekun iyawo, Ijala Ode, etc.
  • Epic: This poem narrates heroes and their deeds, e, g Milton’s Paradise Lost, Soyinka’s guidance
  • Elegy/Dirge: The poem of lamentation and a song of mourning and a sorrowful event such as the death of a bosom friend, Thomas Gray’s Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard
  • Lyric: A poem to be sung to the lyre. It is sung during the burial of the dead or the mare ceremonies, e.g. J. P. Clarks Streamside Exchange
  • Ode: An ode is a written or spoken poem addressing somebody or something to mark a special occasion.
  • Pastoral poem: this poem celebrates the lives of the country and the people.
  • Narrative poem: This is a long poem that tells a story, e.g Samuel Coleridge’s The rhyme of the Ancient Mariner.
  • Panegyrics/Eulogy: It is a praise poem dedicated to the glorification (praising) of the attributes or qualities of a person, an animal, a place or event, a nd an object.
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         Tools to consider in analyzing poems

  • Stanzas/Rhymes: This is the division in the formal pattern of a person. It could be two, thre,e or more lines. Rhyme is the exact correspondence in sound or word-ending, usually at the end of each poem. The arrangements of the stanzas should be considered. Learn how they are arranged below.
  1. A two-line stanza is known as a couplet
  2. A three-line stanza is known as a triplet
  3. A four-line stanza is known as a quatrain
  4. A five-line stanza is known as a quintet
  5. A six-line stanza is known as a sestet
  6. A seven-line stanza is known as a septet
  7. An eight-line stanza is known as an octave
  • Rhythm: This is a metrical movement determined between sounds and events.
  • Tone/mood: These are feelings or state of mind of the poet. It is the frame of mind in which the poet was when composing his work.
  • Atmosphere: This is the prevalent mood, feelings, and thoughts or actions of people in a poem.
  • Enjambment: This is also known as (run-on-line). It occurs when the ideas in a line of verse move from one line to the join that follows it.
  • Imagery: It is the use of words to form mental pictures. A poet could use words to draw a picture of situations whose ordinary words cannot convey effectively.
  • Metre: This is the arrangement of the stressed and unstressed syllables in a poem to give a particular rhythmic effect.
  • The content of the poem: The content is the main body of the poem and you should understand the message and subject matter.
  • The structure of the poem: the structure of the poem is to be considered, such as stanzas, verses, and lines.
  • Language and style of the poem: The style, figures of speech, and theme are to be considered. The style is the way the language is structured. It is the manner the poem is done. The theme is the central idea and the dominating point of the poem. The figures of the speech are simile, metaphor, personification, hyperbole, irony, euphemism, etc.
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