Sunday, March 20, 2011
Sindhi Woman by Jon Stallworthy
This definitely seemed like a creative topic for a poem, and the metaphor which Stallworthy creates is interesting. From what I looked up, Sindh is a province in Pakistan. Stalworthy also references the largest city of Pakistan, Karachi, the slums of which are very run-down, overpopulated and poverty stricken. This is where the speaker in the poem says that he or she sees the woman walking. I thought that this might have meant that the speaker lived in the slums, perhaps a beggar or one of the many homeless. The speaker notices a Sindhi woman passing through a bazaar, carrying a stone jar on her head. She is described as being graceful, gliding through the filthy streets, unfazed by her surroundings. In the last stanza, Stallworthy compares the speaker to the woman: the speaker stoops as he or she watches, and the woman stands straight up, even though she is carrying the stone jar. The speaker makes the observation that "...they stand most straight who learn to walk beneath a weight." I took this as a metaphor between how the woman confronts her physical task, and how the speaker handles the hardships in his or her life, so this could be taken both literally and figuratively. The woman has learned to carry the heavy jar and stand tall while doing so, the speaker lives beneath the "weight" of the world and, under its hardships, learns to face the trouble and keep living, even though life is difficult. In this way, Stallworthy creates the connection between the speaker and the woman, a metaphor between people of two possibly different walks of life, but who overcome their own daily struggles.