Poetic Devices in the anvil and the hammer
The poem is metaphoric. The two cultures are likened to the anvil and the hammer: “Caught between the anvil and the hammer”. The colonial experience leading to the independence of many African nations is described as “the forging house of a new life”. The word “pangs” (like birth pangs) in the third line represents our cultural values.
certain words and their directives are repeated in the poem (a) "a new life" (1.2) and "new song" (1.4) evoke repetition (b) " washed (1.7) and "washed" again in line 13 etc
The poem contains powerful imagery that helps to deepen the reader’s thoughts. The poet uses many symbols beginning from the use of the words “anvil” and “hammer” which represent clash of cultures. The old African ways are described as follows: The trapping of the past, tender and tenuous/woven with fibre of sisal and/ Washed in the blood of the goat in the fetish hut/. Western civilisation is described as follows: “… flimsy glories of paved streets/ The jargon of a new dialectic comes with the/ Charisma of the perpetual search on the outlaw’s hill”.
4. Oxymoron:A figure of speech in which contradictory terms appear together. Example: “ flimsy glories“.
5. Antithesis:Sew the old days for us, our fathers,/That we can wear them under our new garment,
6. Alliteration:Example- The trapping of the past, tender and tenuous
Poetc device or literary terms in anvil and the hammer