The poem “Blessing” by Imtiaz Dharker, an award-winning female British poet born in Lahore, Pakistan. The poem is an incident of a municipal pipe that bursts in the deprived slums of Mumbai and how people run with mugs and pots to collect the precious liquid. With the use many poetic techniques and literary devices, Imtiaz Dharker tries to emphasize the poverty that these people live in and how rare drinking water is for these people.
“The skin cracks like a pod. There never is enough water.” This is the first stanza of the poem “Blessing” a couplet with power. Here “The skin cracks” literally means a person’s skin that has shriveled from the constant exposure to the sun or maybe like the dry ground that cracks during droughts but also implies pain and discomfort because the skin is one of the most important organs of the body. Describing the skin cracking like a “pod” suggests that people are “breaking” due to the lack of the main life source: water, which is the title of the poem for the people in poverty, a “Blessing.”
The second stanza of the poem which is a quatrain. As the poet introduces us to “imagine the drip of it,” the sound of the words make you feel like you are in that situation and are thirsty like a man in the desert hallucinating about that thirst-quenching drop of water. The pleasing clanging of the consonants “echoing” “tin” and “mug” deliver such a solid image of how precious water is for these people. The poet then describes this sound of water as the “voice of a kindly god” because it emphasizes that often people in this situation (where water is rare) think this is an act of god.
The penultimate stanza, the longest one which is 11 lines. “the sudden rush of fortune” like someone winning the jackpot on a slot machine and the money is pouring out of it. This is a very clever way of how the poet joins financial wealth and water in that part. You might notice how the water is “silver” which is far more expensive than something like “brass, copper, aluminum, plastic buckets, frantic hands” that scramble to capture a bit of the precious resource. The poet also uses the word “silver” to show how precious a commodity is. The fact that the “municipal pipe” broke was a mistake on the authorities’ side – the burst and the water got out, it makes me think of the corrupt people in the authorities that could help the poor but don’t. As the water comes and starts to go it finds a “roar of tongues” which refers to screaming and shouting of the people which then is said as a “roar” rush to collect the water as if they would never get it again this proves how valuable water is for them. It is interesting how the poet uses a “congregation” of people which refers to the religious and uneducated people of the slums that don’t what to believe in.
In the final stanza which is a sestet. The people – “naked children” – have turned perfect or even immortal, as everything around them is turned to water. They stand in a “liquid sun” which is the sun that is reflected through the water and the children are turned into gold, “polished to perfection.” Everyone has become rich as the water gives life to the Earth around them. A “rush” of water can be a gift of god for those who are unfortunate not being born in a country where water is taken for granted. The last 2 line in this stanza “the blessing sings over the small bones” reinforces how short a child’s life is, reminding us how scarce water is for these people and without we would certainly die.