Poet, rapper and blogger, Thuthukani Ndlovu’s poem “He and She” in the Realization Anthology is a didactic poem that manages to address how human nature is vulnerable to manipulation through material things and ego. (You can download the Anthology via this link, in the next tab)
The poem is quite short and is 2 verses long. Thuthukani makes use of a direct end rhyme pattern occasionally. He uses some figurative speech to bring it to life though it remains quite understandable to the average homo-sapien-sapien. His poems first verse agrees with the common metaphor that pride or egos can be fed. This metaphor assumes that pride or ego are some form of animal. This can be confirmed by the other metaphor regarding, ego which says one can “stroke” the ego. There is also one that says ,”bruise the ego”. You can feed, stroke and bruise and animal. We can therefore establish that the first stanza is talking ofan ego being fed as an animal, causing the subject to be unable to swallow her pride.
The poet says,
“He fed her so much praise,
Until she could not swallow her pride,”
There is also a common saying that if one would feed this ego animal, then their soul is starved.
“Feed the ego, starve the soul.”
I am not sure the author had come across this one but by the end of the first stanza of his poem, the soul is dead. Probably he means to say it starved to death while the ego was fed. He speaks of the digestion of dignity and the loss of emotion. In this case I’d like to believe Thuthukani, meant to say conscience. I believe, emotion never dies but conscience does.
Fear, anger, resentment and so forth also happen to be emotions. We have seen that in history even those thought to be emotionless could in fact fall into anger or depression (which are emotions). However they had no conscience. However, the message of what Thuthukani is saying is not lost within “better” words we believe should have been used. I believe the target audience will understand what he means or perhaps he indeed meant emotions?
The second verse (which is the last), identifies with the metaphor that identifies money as a liquid. Perhaps it’s a liquid like water because it tends to sustain life. That’s why we say, “cash flow” or “my pockets are dry”, we talk about the “liquidity” crunch, “swimming in money”and so forth. We talk about the “freezing of bank accounts.” This is because money is like water to us. Let’s get into the use of this metaphor in Thuthukani’s poem.
“He continued to drown her in finances,
Yet he knew that she could not swim.”
In this verse, HE switches from just feeding her with compliments and praises. He feeds the material needs, now that perhaps he has killed the conscience or starved her soul. The way the verse begins, could prove that these finances were being fed from the start, “He continued to…”Whichever angle we take it from, money is being fed continuously to overwhelm this girl. The person giving the money actually knows that her mind cannot handle it. She cannot “swim” in it so she drowns in it, because money is a liquid. This means that a part of her continues to die, because drowning leads to death.
In later parts of this stanza, her eyes become blurry and it is worsened by shades (dark spectacles she is given). This to me means that she is now incapable of seeing truth or light. Eventually she comes to the realization when she breaks out that she was being led. At that point she was now infested with HIV.
I believe this poem is didactic and it shows us that humans have a hunger, which is why they need their ego fed. We have a thirst that’s why we want to “drink” money. However not all that our minds, souls and spirits can feed on is good food. We have to come to a realization of what’s healthy. For the most part you will realize that it wasn’t the “compliments and praises” that were bad, neither was it the money. It was the excess of these things.
No matter what feeds you, be it poetry, music, compliments or money. Have it in the right proportions and do not let it control you. Human beings have the gift of dominion.