By Marcia Douglas

marciadouglas.asp?au_id=17  . but grew up in rural Jamaica. Visit Marcia Douglas's website: www. Marcia Douglas was born in the UK of Jamaican parents in lay.peepaltreepress. She left Jamaica in 1990 to study for a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing at Ohio State University and was awarded a Ph D in African American and Caribbean Literature in or see http://www.

both adults and children. People. have travelled from far and wide to see the switching on of Mr Samuel’s electric lights as it is a momentous occasion. The poem is set in Jamaica. However. it ends in disappointment. nobody is able to record the event. . It seems almost as if it is a magical event that even nature is anticipating and waiting to see. in a town called Cocoa Bottom.

it’s exciting Mr Samuel – by mentioning his name he has become a local celebrity. this is a unique event .    ‘Then’ takes us into the middle of a story. stories are very important in cultures like these and it makes it sound very dramatic ‘All the children’ – make it sound almost religious in tone The first two lines are disarmingly simple – with all the children coming to see these lights it makes it sound like a performance. a show.

..oil’ – ironic they have brought old technology of oil lamps to see new technology of electric bulbs. meaning they could stay a long time ‘Waiting for sunset’ – irony here in them waiting for natural light to fade so they can watch the artificial light ‘yellow. The lamps are full as well. orange’ – the scene clearly becoming darker but the poem is very colourful .    ‘Camped on the grass’ – they are prepared to arrive early and stay for along time ‘lamps.

peeped. removing some of its power? A pencil line is not as colourful as the light from the sun with its many shades. they are not as comfortable with the new technology as the children.. Is the electricity cable ‘taking over’ from the sun? Is the cable crossing through the sun.  ‘Grannie Patterson..door’ – the contrast with the children is apparent.sun’ – this simile is an interesting one. The idea of technology vs nature is apparent here. Marcia is suggesting that although the older members of the community are there to witness the event. Anything else? .... She seems scared as she’s peeping? Or is she excited and is desperate to see ‘Cable.

. Fireflies are a natural light source but they have their natural light off.  ‘Fireflies waited in the shadows. With the flies and the birds coming to watch I’m reminded of the Lion King! Even nature is aware that something momentous is going to happen.lanterns off’ – lots of references to light here.. Marcia has also included nature in the anticipation of such an event now The Kling-klings ‘congregating’ emphasises the religious atmosphere of this scene. .

swaying’ – logical that with no wind the bamboo would stop swaying but repeats the feeling of anticipation ‘as soft as chiffon curtains:/Closing. Closing’ – the repetition of the ‘s’ sound makes this a very gentle ending to the night and the full stops between closing indicate a certain amount of time has passed .held breath’ – a wonderful example of personification and anticipation of a magical event ‘bamboo...   ‘A breeze.

    ‘Light!’ – has a whole line.yellow shimmer’ – images of contrasting light and colour to make it seem realistic and marvellous ‘gasp’ – sense of incredulity and awe .. The amazement is heightened by the simplicity of the word along with the exclamation mark. ‘Mr Samuel smiling’ – indicates how pleased and triumphant he feels about the display ‘silhouette. Light was one of the first things god created.

the world is in motion at the spectacle of light ‘tweet-a-whit’ – as if nature is able to talk about the spectacle ‘swaying’ x 2: the breeze has arrived again but there is a sense of movement and delight.    ‘fluttering’ – everything’s moving again. of nature and mankind being in a similar state of awe ‘Light! Marvellous light!’ – the crowd are united in their opinion of the display. their enthusiasm clear .

‘And a voice in the wind whispered:’ – the tone is reverential now. Can nobody write? The ironic thing here is that this poem is a written record of the moment.  ‘then the breeze. serious: for such an important event.. why is there nobody to record and remember it? This changes the tone of the poem and it becomes sad as nobody can answer.. It creates a sense of drama and humans/nature being in accord. . ‘Swelling’ x2 shows the power of nature.bowed heads’ – these four lines show the wind becoming stronger but the simile of so many bowed heads make the tone religious. as if praying to a higher power.

light doesn’t make a noise.The third stanza is perplexing. No. needing their oil lamps to help them see. The last four lines introduce a sense of disappointment with the children going home. love the idea of new things but very quickly get bored with them and only different things keep us interested? The dark journey home indicates a sense of loss. . combined with the moment passing. Does this show that they believe it was a waste of time? Does this show that we. as people. Why would warm rocks hear noise? There should be some debate here. they saw light. Lines 34/35 tell us nobody heard a sound – very negative.

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