This is a traditional poem which originates from the Swahili people in Kenya. The theme of the poem hinges on companionship, the benefits and beauty of companionship. Woman can not exist except by man… As man goes through life soon he is pierced by the thorn or the sand-mote enters his eye and he needs a friend to remove it… the narrator of the poem says also that one who walks alone have no good fortune.
A minstrel is a professional entertainer or musician who goes about singing and reciting his own poems, hence the narrator wishes for the position of the minstrel in order to have the free will of his own words.
Looking at the poetic devices in use, The poet makes use of rhetorical question in the first and second line of the poem
” let me ask for what reason or ryhme women refuse to marry?”
“Woman can not exist except by man, what is there in that to vex some of them so?”
The mood of the poem is that of pity and compassion, the narrator uses words of advice to explain the fate of man and worse is the fate of a man who is alone.
The poet also makes use of hyperbole. Hyperbole is the use of exaggeration in a literary work.
“Woman can not exist except by man”
“Every one who walks alone has no good friends”
These are not totally true in reality and is an exaggerated statement.
There is also the use of antithesis which is placing the opposite idea of a word side by side.
“A loin cloth without disgrace than the fine Flowered shawl of shame”
“The rich man and the poor man”
Give me the minstrel’s seat that I may seat and ask you a word, my friends.
Let me ask for what reason or rhyme women refuse to marry?
Woman cannot exist except by man, what is there in man to vex some of them so?
A woman is she who has a husband and she cannot but prosper. Cleave unto your man and his kinsmen will become jealous
His kinsmen have planted cocoyams but the fruit they reap is dum-palm nuts
We think you plant the borassus palm, the teak, the mnga and the solanum tree
When man goes on the road he goes with a friend, for he who walks alone has no good fortune.
As man goes through life soon he is pierced by the thorn, or the sand-mote enters his eye and he needs a friend to remove it.
Likewise I give you advice, the rich man and the poor man
Join hands across the shroud
Better a loin cloth without disgrace than the fine flowered shawl of shame.