‘Marrysong’ by Dennis Scott
Born in Kingston, Jamaica, Dennis Scott was a Jamaican poet, playwright and actor. One of his most notable works of poetry is ‘Marrysong’. Scott was one of the most prestigious poets after the independence period of Jamaica, with his poem ‘Uncle Time’ for which he received the notable title of being one of the most influential poets of modern Jamaican literature.
Referring to his wife as ‘territory’ – Scott indicates that he must discover this territory, with this extended metaphor featuring throughout the poem. Then Scott having to ‘chart’ – suggesting the creation of a map in order to discover his wife, this emphasises the exploration of this ‘new-found-land’.
The poem suggests an unsure attitude, as we see in the first line, ‘year after year’ we don’t know whether this suggest a long, drawn out relationship that could become dull, or whether this means he is happy, and the year after year suggests commitment.
Time takes a prominent role in the poem, with what is described as ‘year after year’ is then shortened to passing ‘seasons’ then shrunk still to an ‘hour’ until the shifting of moods becomes sudden, ‘suddenly she would change’. This suggests confusion within the relationship for Scott, as the changing of her attitudes becomes unexplainable and undetectable. This unpredictability leads us to the point of the heavy use of ‘enjambment’ in the first five lines, painting a vivid picture of uncertainty for Scott; conversely, as the poem progresses, we see a much more structured approach.
On the contrary, the poem as a whole is generally lacking in structure. The constant use of caesurae, which breaks lines using pauses, denoted by commas and full stops. Also, the stutter of ‘[a]ll, all’’ disrupts the flow of the poem much like the punctuation mentioned. This disruptiveness also contributes to the uncertainty of Scott within the marriage.
However, as we approach the concluding lines of the poem Scott evokes a...
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