Dennis Vincent Brutus was a South African activist, educator, journalist and poet best known for his campaign to have apartheid South Africa banned from the Olympic Games. He lived between 28th November 1924 and 26th December 2009. He was born in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and had ancestry of mixed French, Italian and South African. His activist life likens him to a crusader for his country. A knight on duty for a mistress; and this has so often appeared in his poetry. He loved South Africa deeply and did everything to win its freedom. In this poem, “It Is the Constant Image of Your Face”, he closes the first stanza by saying “my land takes precedence of all my loves”. This was his passion. While he was in prison, news broke that South Africa had been banned from the 1964 Tokyo Olympics as he had campaigned for. First Thoughts on the Poem
In this poem, the poet experiences a deep feeling of guilt and remorse. The poet has framed an image of his beloved whose face is constantly before him, while he is engrossed in a world of his own; a world in which thoughts are like knives, hurling accusations at him. These accusations cut deeply into the poet’s consciousness and remind him of his treachery to his native country. Apparently, the poet has left his native home, having been captivated by the beauty and assurances of his beloved. However, deep in his heart he knows that no other love can lay claim to his loyalty but his homeland which is above all other loves.
Feelings of remorse and guilt plague the thoughts of the poet. To him, leaving his country is like an act of treason and treachery. Although he prizes his beloved, he pleads for forgiveness from his country whose tenderness matches or surpasses that of the beloved.
Second Thoughts on the Poem
This poem is a typical Dennis Brutus poem. As is characteristic, he compares his love for South Africa, to the love he has for some other person. Maybe, a woman! He opens the poem by saying ‘the constant...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document