September Admission 2019/2020 into Accra Institute of Techonology, Ghana - Undergraduate Programs

please I need an explanation on this poem: A Taxi Driver on his death?

please I need an explanation on this poem: A Taxi Driver on his death?

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Answers (2)

isaaq
1 month ago
Analysis Of A Taxi Driver On His Death By Timothy Wangusa
Timothy Wangusa is a Ugandan poet and novelist born 1942, according to wikipedia, "Wangusa is an ethnic Mumasaaba, born in Bugisu, in eastern Uganda. He studied English at Makerere University where he later served on faculty, and the University of Leeds (UK). He wrote his MA and PhD on British and African poetry, respectively.
Wangusa started working at Makerere University in 1969. He was appointed as Professor in 1981."

His poem, A Taxi Driver On His Death, is a self-reflection poem. It reflected the inner worries of the poem speaker (the taxi driver) who anticipated that sooner or later, the cab he drove which he called a docile elaborate horse, will one day revolt and bury him under its metallic body.

The poem speaker further explained that he wasn't risking his life because of the passengers (he didn't even know them), or for proprietor's gain, or for self love.
He was filled with the guilt of defying the safe traffic rule and even foresaw the reaction of sympathizers when his cab accident finally happened:
"Risking everything for little more
They shall say, I know, who pick up my bones
Poor chap, another victim to the ruthless machines
Concealing my blood under the metal".

A Taxi Driver On His Death, is a poem void of specific rhyme or rhythm, it has a complaining voice in a worry mood. Some of the figures of speech in the poem are metaphorical symbolisms "prophetic eye" "metallic monster" "docile elaborate horse" and the existence of anaphora in the poem; "Nor for proprietor's gain/ Nor for love of my own" there is alliteration "cold cell" "Shall surely revolt" "That in silence seems to simmer and strain"

The poem has the themes of anticipation, insinuation, judgement and guilt. This is because the poem speaker anticipated what probably might happen and how it would happen, he then judge himself as being guilty for his negligence and crossing the safe traffic limit.
Gaby
1 month ago
A Taxi Driver on his Death
When with prophetic eye I peer into the
future
I see that I shall perish upon this road
Driving men that I do not know.
This metallic monster that now I dictate,
This docile elaborate horse,
That in silence seems to simmer and strain,
Shall surely revolt some tempting day.
Thus I shall die; not that I care
For any man’s journey,
Nor for proprietor’s gain,
Nor yet for love of my own.
Not for these do I attempt the forbidden
limits,
For these defy the traffic-man and the cold
cell,
Risking everything for the little, little more.
They shall say, I know, who pick up my
bones,
“Poor chap, another victim to the ruthless
machine”—
Concealing my blood under the metal.
-Timothy Wangusa, A Pattern of Dust:
Selected Poems 1965-1990
Mr. Wangusa speaks of the unfortunate
commonality of traffic accidents in Uganda
(as well as other developing countries).
Though drivers have licenses, they often
speed (here called ‘overspeeding’), get too
close to motorcycles and pedestrians, or
drive too harshly on very badly maintained
roads. They pack entirely too many people/
chickens/bags into their cars to get as
much money as possible. And they do not
really make enough money to have a decent
living.
Taxi drivers are a necessity in a country
with no public transportation and a dearth
of people who know how to drive. A taxi in
this sense is a car/van which has been
licensed to get people back and forth.
Rurally, they operate between smaller
towns/trading centers. In larger cities, they
can be there just to transport you around
the town. This is most commonly seen in
the capital city, Kampala.
I have not seen a single woman taxi driver,
though I have seen women driving private
cars. My guess is that it’s a traditionally male
occupation, like many other things, and in
rural areas it would be unthinkable for men
to be driven around by women.
The end of this poem is really sad to me,
because what is he even driving the taxi
for? If not money or love of driving, he’s
maybe just doing it for something to do. To
make the time go by. And when he dies he
is just another cog in the machine, his
sacrifice of a life concealed by the metal. It
reminds me of how we treat service
workers in America - they are just faces in
the larger machine, without lives of their
own.
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