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Criticised Poetry by Adelere Adesina

POEM: PAID
Poet: Tanimola
Crit: Adelere Adesina

PAID

No man would treasure cast to pigs
Nor would God with sinners be pleased
For for them His ONLY son did give
To pay the price and be hung on a tree!

5: The crown of thorns for Him was knit
A spear in the side his ribs did split
Be washed in this blood of all thy sin
Today you've got, tomorrow no more may be!

When names shall be called off the sheets
10: And His holy face thou shalt greet
If by then thy name be writ
Upon the throne with Him thou shalt sit!

STRUCTURE

Paid is a free verse (a poem with no regular rhyme nor rhythm) which extends to twelve lines of three verses of four lines each. Each of the verse is related in such a way that one introduces the other which follows it directly, telling a particular tale from of Jesus' sacrifice to the end of the world according to the belief of Christians. It is therefore a continuum. Regarding the rhyme, the end-rhyme is not perfect (regular). For example, in the first verse, the rhyme is abcd. Although, a similar sound is found in each word, with a bit of difference in the first line only, the end rhyme remains imperfect. This, perhaps, is to reflect that there was a flow of irregularity in the poem itself. This irregularity is evident in the poem by the fact that someone gave his only son for those whose work he detested (something unusual; ll 2-4); the son's blood would wash away sins (l7); and, the sinners whose sins were washed would sit with the one who gave his son later (l 12).

SUBJECT MATTER

The poem, written to portray the price that God paid to redeem sinners, was titled Paid. Paid is full of images that show that a person will not give good things to people for whom they think such things are unfit (l 1); but someone worked against that norm, giving to people with whom He was not pleased his only son to make them reign with Him. The inflection which the title, Paid, belongs, shows that the price is not what will be given, but what has already been given. Hence, the first two verses (with the exception of ll 7 and 8) were written in simple past tense. The third verse contains what the reason for payment is; hence, it is written in future present tense (the cause of payment being tied to the future). The seventh and eighth lines talk about the present only. The three verses all talk about the past, present and future.

Verse 1:

Line 1: This line reads without inversion, 'No man would cast treasure to pigs'. This means that the normal act of a man is to avoid the contact of anything precious with people who will not value it, and will waste it (= cast pearls before swine).

Line 2: This reads: ' Nor would God be pleased with sinners'. As no man was expected to give valuable things to people who do not cherish them, God could not be satisfied with people who go against His rules. A sinner is a person who breaks God's law (divine rules). Hence, sinners are like pigs to whom God's pleasure cannot be given, considering the parallelism between the two lines.

Line 3: The more reason why His pleasure cannot be given to sinners is that He (God) gave His only (emphasis on 'only' in the poem) son for them. Rewriting more plainly, this line is thus: 'For (because, the reason is that) [He] gave His ONLY son for (in order to help) them. The writer believed, according to the Christian faith, that God already gave His son in order to save sinners. Hence, it is not expected of Him to pardon and be pleased with any person who refuses to take the provision. The emphasis placed on 'only' by capitalizing it is there to cause the reader to rethink what God gave: a son without a sibling; therefore, a son who was very invaluable.

Line 4: Enjambed with the third line, the fourth completes the way the price was paid succinctly. The son who was given was the price God paid for something. This price was not just giving him as in changing ownership, but sacrificing him was the price.

Verse 2

Line 5: 'The crown of thorns was knit for Him'. This, the crowning of the son by thorns, was a part of the price, of the sacrifice.

Line 6: 'In his side, a spear did split his ribs'. This is another part of the payment. 'Side' (singular) is a part of the body from the armpit. The spear cut through the flesh of a side of the son, dividing (cutting) the ribs.

Line 7: The sentence here is unlike the narration in previous lines. Here, the person to whom the story is narrated is asked to be wash of their sin in 'this' (from something mentioned recently; the split from the spear) blood. That is, the price was the life of the son for the washing away of the sins of sinners.

Line 8: 'You've got today; tomorrow may no more be!' Then, the poet reminded the interlocutor that the future is not certain ('no more may be'). No one can be so sure of his or her presence in the future. Hence, it is rather wise to do what is needful today, to heed to the command in line 7 in the present.

Verse 3

Line 9: Until this verse, the poem is narrative and imperative (in the present). Here, the poem shifts to telling about the future. The poem indicates that a time will come during which names (of people) 'shall' (certain to be, imperative futurity) be called from sheets (pieces of paper in standard size for writing).

Line 10: Enjambed with l 9, this line reads: 'And thou shalt greet his holy face'. Here, the person who gave His son (ll 2-3) is described as having a holy face. This holy face will certainly be greeted by the interlocutor. That is, the person will face God face-to-face.

Line 11: 'If, by then, thy name is written', plainly read. That is, if the name of the person reading/listening is written on the 'sheets' where a number of names will be called. The sentence is not complete from ll 9. This verse is particularly most incomplete.

Line 12: Reread as, 'Thou shalt sit upon the throne with Him!' This is the completion of the previous line and the verse. That is, if the condition is met that one's name is written in the 'sheets', one will be given to sit on the throne with God.

FIGURES OF SPEECH

Here are some of the figures used in this poem.

1. Metaphor: ll 1-2 (the analogy/comparison of man casting treasures and God showing approval)

2. Hyperbation: ll 1-3, 5-8, 10, 12 (the inversion of the normal order of words)

3. Pun/Paronomasia: l 3 ('for' is used with two different meanings); l 6 ('split' is the cutting of ribs and side/flesh)

4. Parallelism/Syncrisis: ll 1-2 (a similar idea expressed in different ways)

5. Archaism: l 7 (thy), l 10 (thou), l 11 (thy, writ), l 12 (thou)

6. Antithesis: l 5 (crown and thorns are contradictory)

7. Anapodoton: l 9-10 (subordinate clauses without a main clause, but with the main clause implied)

8. Hyperbole: l 7 (washing a whole person in the blood of another requires that the other blood is very much; but limited is this blood if the split by a spear only is considered)

9. Personification: l 10 (greeting a 'face')

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