Praise Song for My Mother is a paean, written by the poet Grace Nichols, for her mother, who happened to be a colossally inspiring influence in her life. The poet has made an unstinting attempt to use the whole panoply of imagery; this is manifested by the poet’s use of diction, the factor that could have occasioned the poet to write this poem and the analysis of the main themes. Firstly, the author has repeated the words, “You were” in every stanza which might evoke to the minds of the readers how supremely significant the poet’s mother was in her life.
“You were water to me” might evince the fact that Nichol’s mother was as essential as water in her life and she needed her to survive. However, the word “were” is in past tense and it might have been used myriad times to betoken that the poet and her mother might not be close to each other anymore or the poet’s mother might have passed away. “Go to your wide futures, you said” might manifest that Nichol’s mother believed in freedom and wanted her daughter to live her life the way she wanted to or it could add on to the effect and mean that the poet and her mother had an argument and might not be close to each other.
Secondly, Grace Nichols’ mother’s death and the she might have wanted to show gratitude towards her mother as well. She might want to thank her mother for being so “fathoming” and giving her freedom as the poet’s mother said, “Go to your wide futures, you said” to Grace Nichols. Moreover, she might want to thank her mother for teaching her everything and for making sure she had a stable childhood.
This is also shown through the structure of the poem. Lastly, the main themes in this poem are love, affection and family bonding and these themes helped Nichols use imagery to memorable effect in Praise Song for my Mother. These themes are shown throughout the poem, “You were sunrise to me” evinces these themes vividly. To conclude, I think the poet has done an amazing job in using imagery to memorable effect in the poem Praise Song for my mother written by Grace Nichols by employing dramatically different diction by eschewing flamboyant words in favour of the usual vocabulary, by analyzing the reason for writing this poem and the main themes in the poem.