“An African Thunderstorm” by David Rubadiri” is a significant poem. It presents the looming arrival of the violent storm. The anticipation of a destructive storm coming from the west seems both horrific and exciting. The writer says that whistling and directionless movement of the wind intensifies the eminent and influential nature of the storm. While comparing the strong gust of winds to lotus, the speaker predicts a great deal of damage, this storm will cast on his village. The horrible description of its arrival shows that there is no escape from the discernable pattern of the wind. It appears to the spesker as a monster thrashing its mighty tail around.
In the second stanza, the writer talks about the start of the storm. He provides graphic detail of the clouds; clouds are compared to a royal person. David brilliantly triumphs his arrival with a noticeable change it brings to his village. The power of the wind can be best captured in a line when he says, ” And trees bend to let it pass.” Instead of diminishing its way, the tree allows it to cause unbound destruction.
The third stanza shifts the narrative. In this stanza, the writer talks about the attitudes of the people who will witness its strength. First, innocent children appear in the scene. Their little knowledge fails to interpret the upcoming hazard. However, the women hurriedly prepare for the storm. They are rushing in and out to ensure the safety of their fellow villagers. They know that even nature allowes the wind to exercise its will. The helplessness of the people depicts in this situation. The poem reflects that man can’t withstand the cruelty of natural world. Toward the end, he finally provides glimpses of the fatal destruction caused by the storm. The relentless movement of the rain shows as if the rain will never stop.
Major Themes in “An African Thunderstorm” by David Rubadiri
Man versus nature, the hopelessness of man, and destruction are the main themes of the poem. The poem shows the destructive power of nature on the one hand. While on the other hand, it shows no matter how far the man goes, he will not be able to supersede nature. Although he can predict the upcoming catastrophe, yet he can’t fully protect himself. Similarly, the speaker discusses the reaction of different age groups toward groaning nature.
If one digs the poem deep, he may find out that the destruction hints at the enslavement of Africans. It takes us back in time when their flags were stripped off, and their separate identity was spoiled. It makes us feel the pain, restlessness, and worry of the Blacks when whites invade their land. Unlike the storm, they showed no mercy; they tore down everything that came their way. Although the blacks knew they would meet a drastic fortune, yet they possessed no power to resist the white supremacy.
The poem displays various poetic and literary devices such as; metaphor, symbolism, personification, irony, and other rhetoric devices. While inserting these elements, the writer has skillfully established a connection with his readers. For example, David has used an extended metaphor of the mighty storm to show two different things. On a surface level, this vigorous and forceful storm will bring drastic changes to the earth’s surface. On a deeper level, using the storm as a metaphor, the writer draws our attention toward the miserable plight of the Africans.
Another most important literary element that is used in the poem is symbolism. Using storm as a symbol, the writer shows how an unseen power can bring a lasting change in the world. Similarly, the word “Village” symbolizes African land that underwent transitional phases. To further support his ideas, David has personified the natural elements. The use of personification shows as if the storm is human being and it will take the people’s breath away. David has also used situational irony in the second and third stanza to show that nothing hindered the way of this fierce storm, such as; “And trees bend to let it pass.” Thus, the use of these powerful elements has helped David connect the readers with the underlying themes of the poem.