A Comparison of the Poems, "Postcard from Kashmir" by Agha Shanhid Ali and "Elena" by Pat Mora

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Time and change will always be inevitable. Although some people would like to change that, it just can not be done. There is no going back to the past; there is only remembering it. So, no matter how much we would like the idea of time machines in movies such as Back to the Future, we, ourselves, must learn to cope with memories. In the poem Postcard from Kashmir, by Agha Shanhid Ali, and Elena, by Pat Mora, both authors must do just that. In fact, both writers effectively incorporate powerful language and techniques in their poems to embody a nostalgic feeling for what once was the past, and for what they consider to be an unfulfilled present. In Postcard from Kashmir the speaker yearns to go back to what they once called their home. They call a postcard their home, and say in lines four and five, “Now I hold the half inch Himalayas in my hand, This is Home.” Their tone is obviously one of sorrow and of nostalgia. They miss the place where they once lived, and now torn apart from it, thirst for the place their heart has stayed in. In Elena, the speaker also reminisces about the past. She has also moved away from home, and that move has not only affected her, but also the relationship with her family. The tone of this poem is equally sad because we are told of a mother who was once close to her family but has now become estranged from them. The children who once clamored around her and spoke in the tongue she had taught them now “go to American high school. They speak English.” Both of these poems have a strong effect on the reader. They express such a strong lust for something long ago. But not only that, they bleed sorrow. In Postcard from Kashmir the speaker says in lines six to ten, “ When I return, the colors won’t be so brilliant. The Jhelum’s waters so clean, so ultramarine. My love so overexposed.” The speaker obviously feels and knows that whenever it is that they return to Kashmir will be in a long time and not in the near future....
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