“Season” – Wole Soyinka
The poem “Season” written by Wole Soyinka makes use of various poetic devices and techniques. The poem is set in the time spent waiting between autumn and winter and is seen through the eyes of a corn garnerer. In the poem, Soyinka depicts the feeling of the corn garnerer and the fields he occupies. Primarily, this feeling is achieved in marvellous effect thanks to the excellent portrayal of the mood and the superb use of poetic devices such as assonance, imagery and rhythm. Although a short poem of just 16 lines, we instantly understand the power of the setting. It is the classic life-ritual of the harvest. However, the positive energy of this particular harvest is set back by the repetition of the word “rust”. Rust generally has the meaning of a collapse and to tire; something that’s been out for too long. So in our minds a message is printed of the decay of the scene. It is as if that the scene is not somewhere privileged but instead we are in a setting that uses old tools, with hardened and tiring workers. This setting, to me, reflects a place similar to Soyinka’s home nation of Nigeria. The assonance featured in Soyinka’s poem is utilized to create the swaying movement of the corn in the breeze. This feeling is achieved by the use of sibilance. The repeated use of the “s” sounds makes the words come out of your mouth as if they are moving in the wind. “Thread corn-stalks in winged streaks of light. And we loved to hear spliced phrases of the wind, to hear rasps in the field...” This excerpt from the poem, to me, demonstrates sibilance the most. Coincidentally, the sound that the words make is also what is being described in the excerpt. The functionality of the assonance is mainly for setting the tone and mood of the entire poem. There seems to be a very contrasting image described in the poem. One side shows the landscape as peaceful and calm; suggesting everything is going swell. The other sends the message of rust and decay....
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