The two poems that I am going to compare are how inequality is presented in them are Nothing’s Changed and What were they Like. These two poems are both writing about very similar places; places that had suffered oppression, racism and death. Nothing’s Changed is written about South Africa soon after the apartheid was lifted. The country had been in a state of segregation for a decade and as a result there had been riots and civil unrest among the blacks and fierce oppression by the whites, this was a place very like a warzone, which leads into the second poem What were they Like?
What were they like? is set in Vietnam soon after the war. The country had been devastated by a bloody conflict with the USA which had resulted in an awful human cost. The USA also devastated the country with horrific weapons of mass destruction.
Both these poems are full of bitterness. The black poet who wrote Nothing’s Changed uses a vicious irony “we know where we belong” to show that he feels blacks and whites will never truly reconcile. His rage is expressed again in the final stanza “ Hands burn for a stone, a bomb to shiver down the glass”. This shows the frustration of the place and, possibly, the loss of solidarity, the fears among his people.
Afrika's sense of injustice is powerfully highlighted with the effective imagery of the “purple flowering amiable weeds” and the nefarious “crushed white ice; the single rose” which he turns into symbol of white oppression. The ending is dark and depressing as he feels those old feelings of oppression as his hands burn for a bomb to “shiver down the glass”. This shows even though politics tries to change things, hatred takes a long time to fade.
What were they like is also a poem of bitterness. The poems mocking politeness is an effective illustration to the sadness and bitterness of the poem, “laughter is bitter to the burned mouth”. Both poems use this bitterness to show their places as places of shattered dreams and broken hopes....