Feelings of Anger and Injustice in Poetry of John Agard and Tom Leonard
Each of the authors uses different methods to display their anger orannoyance at something. In “What were they like?” which is about theVietnam War involving the communist north and capitalist south. Thepoem is written unlike most other poems as if she author was giving aninterview with one of the people affected by the war. Each of thequestions is about the Vietnamese people’s traditions, culture andtheir livelihood and each one is answered with a bitter answer.
The answer to the first question is about how the war turned theVietnamese people bitter or left them dead and that it left them withno memory of their past. This is shown where it is written “Theirlight hearts turned to stone” and “It is not remembered whether ingardens stone lanterns illuminated pleasant ways” The second answer isabout the birth of children as it says “to delight in blossom” linkingthe birth of a child to a sprout of a new plant. It then says “butafter the children were killed there were no more buds” where it isreferring the children as buds because they were still so young andhadn’t grown up yet just like the plants buds.
The third answer where it says “laughter is bitter to the burnedmouth” is referring to the napalm which was dropped that burnedthrough flesh causing extreme pain and is asking how someone couldlaugh at that. In the fourth answer the person answering the questionssays “A dream ago, perhaps Ornament is for joy” where the person issaying that the Vietnamese people have nothing to be joyous aboutanymore because of what’s happened in Vietnam.
Then it says “All the bones were charred” as to say that even thememory of the people who died was burned. When asked in the fifthquestion about an epic poem the person replies about how before thepeople were peaceful and everything was fine, then the bombs came and