Learning Objectives: by the end of the lesson, the learners should be able to:
- identify and discuss the main themes in the poem.
- state the poetic devices in the poem.
In our analysis of The Raider of the Treasure Trove, the poet starts the first stanza with rhetorical questions calling the readers to action. These questions challenge the existence of humans if not to attain the great heights. Lines 3 & 4 the reasons you are here? Always strive/to fly flags of joy, and, sail upstreams’
One of the ways humans achieve success in life is by being happy about where they are. This propels them to strive to achieve more – to aim higher. When people are happy they tend to be more productive. This is represented by ‘To fly flags of joy’, the poet calls on people to keep moving up because time wait for no one. Remember the first line of the poem – ‘But what can be worthy of your life’ which runs into the second line ‘… dearer than the gems or your dreams’.
Stanza two presents the effect of joy in the life of every human being. Joy drives us. Joy makes humans spread love to people around them. Love helps humans channel the course of their lives, ‘Powered by the breeze of love, your course’ line 5. In doing this, human beings sprinkle bits of compassion to one another who are also on the voyage of life. ‘… your course/ chattered in the ink of compassion/ and, fling roses where you pause.’
As a result, the poet presents love, joy and compassion as a means of achieving happiness on earth. Heaven is beautiful. It is usually an imaginary place where souls rest. Our debt on this earth is to death which comes when least expected. And it is the desire of every human being to make heaven where there is no strife, greed or all forms of evil.
The poet in this stanza argues that earth can be our heaven if our lives are nurtured and centered around love, joy and compassion for one another. He ends the stanza by reminding human beings of the brevity of life itself which can fade away any moment. Line 9 – Of things which would bolt out that brief.
Furthermore, the poem takes sudden turn in stanza three. Here, the poet warns of Rage. He identifies rage as the greatest enemy to humans’ happiness. This does not mean rage is the only enemy to love but it is the chief. ‘Or breach your sails with arrows unseen/ No Rob you of your life, Rage is chief.’ Lines 10 & 11. Rage is violent anger. It is destructive. It can destruct a relationship built for years or monumental structure or edifice in a matter of seconds. Rage can deny one of one’s happiness or even give one a lifetime injury. Rage leaves indelible tracks and marks. ‘Rage drags rags after you, of charity/Laughter, sweetness and light, Rage is thief’ Lines 12 & 13.
In addition, these lines reveal that Rage denies one the opportunity to be happy, satisfied and cheerful. Rage steals your joy or what you have built for years in a twinkle of an eye, just like a thief. Rage takes life which cannot be returned. Hence, the poet warns of horror and harm rage brings to human lives. He summarises the sting and havoc of rage in this stanza as ‘Enemy of equanimity’ Line 14.
Also in stanza four, the poet continues to decry the dangers posed by rage to human. Rage has a way of spreading to people around us. It intoxicates individuals turning them to mere beasts. ‘Rage spreads toxic fumes on every scene.’ Once an individual gets aggressive at another person or group of people, the ones at the receiving end get agitated as well. They catch the ‘rage flu’ and respond. This quickly spills out of control and result in destruction. ‘In essence, Rage spells calamity.’ Line 16.
Hence, Rage’s main course is to destroy or stop humans’ sail to heaven-on-earth (his/her destination). The last two lines of this stanza expose the weakness of Rage. Rage is caused by our perception to an issue. Instead of allowing rage to control us, we should consider the background from which the rage is coming from or the background of the person possessed by the rage is coming from. If humans understand one another’s perspective to life rage can be defeated.
Finally, the last stanza warns that the mind harbours Rage. So, we should be careful about what dwells in our minds. A heart filled with love, compassion and joy overrides rage. An atom of hate can develop to rage which leaves trails behind, ‘Rage sets sail. Can ruin lag far behind.’ when we leave traces of love. ‘fling roses’. We will be surely at peace when we get to our destination.
In the analysis of the raider of the treasure trove, rage is the raider who raids and carts away the treasure of our lives.
Theme of love: The poem centres on the importance of love. Love can be used to override all forms of rage. Love leaves beautiful trails and memories that create pure everlasting bliss and impression on fellow humans. This is in contrast to rage and the pain that comes with it.
Dangers of uncontrolled anger: This is the underlying theme the poet wants to warn the readers about. In the poem, the poet reveals how anger destroys lives. When people fail to check their anger other people get hurt. Actions taken with anger or decision made in anger leave permanent scars in our lives. We should restrain from taking action when we are pissed.
Brevity of life: The brevity of life is one the themes in The Raider of the Treasure Trove. From the poet’s view, life is a journey. A journey shorter than we think. In other to make this journey worthwhile, we should strive to enjoy every opportunity given to us to live by spreading love, joy and compassion
There are some glaring poetic devices embedded in the poem (a) rhetorical question (b) metaphor (c) repetition (d) imagery (e) enjambment (f) alliteration (g) assonance (h) personification
Rhetorical Question : a question asked in order to create a dramatic effect or to make a point rather than to get an answer. “But what can be worthy of your life?” in line 1.
Metaphor : is an indirect comparison in a work of art. The poem The Leader and the Led was built on a metaphorical ground. Examples are “Rage is Chief” in line 11. “Rage is thief” in line 13. “Enemy of equanimity” in line 14.
Repetition: is a poetic device where certain words, phrases, lines, or verses are repeated twice or more to create a sing-song rhythm or emphasis in a poem. Examples are “Heavens-on-earth” in line 8 and 24. “fling roses” in line 7 and 23. “Sails” in line 4 and 10. “Rage” in line 11, 12 and 13.
Imagery: using words or expressions to created mental picture in a poem so the readers can see, smell, feel the event clearer. Few in the poem are “flags of joy” in line 4. “Heavens-on-earth your destination” in line 8. “…toxic fumes on every scene” in line 15.
Enjambment : flow of idea from more than a line in poetry (run-on-line). ” The reason you are here? Always strive/ To fly flags of joy, and, sail up streams” in line 3 – 4. “…breeze of love, your course/ Chattered in the ink of compassion” in line 5-6.
Alliteration: successive use of consonant sounds within a line or two in a poem. “dearer than the gems or your dreams” in line 2. “To fly flags of joy, and, sail up streams” in line 4 “Rage drags rags” in line 12
Assonance: repeating vowel sounds within lines. “drags rags” in line 12. “Enemy of equanimity” in line 14. “Heavens-on-earth” in line 8.
Personification: the attribution of a personal nature or human characteristics to something non-human, or the representation of an abstract quality in human form. Examples are “Rage is Chief” in line 11. “Rage drags rags after you” in line 12. “Rage is thief” in line 13. “Rage spells calamity” in line 16.
- Examine the theme of love and compassion in the poem, “ Raider of the Treasure Trove”
- Critically examine the theme of “rage” in the poem, Raider of the Treasure Trove”.
- Discuss the use literary techniques in the poem, “Raider of the Treasure Trove”.
- To what extent will you consider the poem, “Raider of the Treasure Trove” as a piece of advice by the poet?