Level 12
Level 13

Imtiaz Dharker - 'Tissue'


5 words 0 ignored

Ready to learn       Ready to review

Ignore words

Check the boxes below to ignore/unignore words, then click save at the bottom. Ignored words will never appear in any learning session.

All None

Ignore?
Paper that lets the light / shine through, this / is what could alter things.
In a culture where seemingly fragile paper hold vasts power (through propaganda, money, debt, contracts, international borders on maps, treaties, and declarations of war), Dharker's foregrounding of the noun "Paper" to begin her poem (and the subsequent sentence) emphasises its importance. Additionally, the modal verb "could" helps to create a sense that figurative (as well as literal) transparency of information "could alter things" by allowing the truth to "shine through".
the Koran
An anecdote for the power of paper and the written word in recording a religion, culture, identity, and history.
Maps too. The sun shines through / their borderlines
Though only ink on paper, "borderlines" have the ability to dictate lives. Dharker's exclusive possessive pronoun "their" is ambiguous - does it belong to the noun "Maps" from the previous sentence or is this the "their" of the political elite who use those "borderlines" to justify war and control. Compare to 'Bayonet Charge' ("King, honour, human dignity, etcetera")
Fine slips from grocery shops / that say how much was sold / and what was paid by credit card / might fly our lives like paper kites.
An excellent (though thoroughly saddening) comparison point for "charter'd streets" of Blake's 'London'. Dharker utilises the ambiguity of the adjective "Fine" (again: fragile but also expensive and with an echo of punitive action - receiving a fine) to emphasise the paradox of something so minor having such control over us. The poet's simile at the end of the stanza conveys a sense that we are as powerless to control our own destinies as a kite in the wind.
raise a structure / never meant to last
The penultimate stanza provides an opportunity - like 'Ozymandias', 'Exposure', and 'The Prelude' extract - to contemplate human fragility. Here, though, Dharker uses the adverb "never" to embrace our impermanence: paper now has power to preserve our history whilst we keep our brief and constructive existence. An interesting contrast to Agard's 'Checking Out Me History'
Level 14