In this last stanza, the poetic persona brings to light the link between the title of the poem and the poem itself. The land, the authorities, the elites, the politicians, the scavenging rich circle are ‘futuristically’ ahead with all eagerness, waiting for anyone who is aiming to get ahead of them. The society has being construct in such a way that the ordinary citizen is made to believe somethings which are often false. Then, if Para venture anyone finds out or attempts to find out that which is hidden, the big dog will eat or shot him/her up.

It takes money to get money, so greater wealth remains with the rich. An ordinary individual cannot vie for a political position in the country because the ticket is placed at a very high cost that he cannot afford.

The current system and modus operandi of our society is constructed in such a way that it only favours a few, and these few, refuse to let others in. Thus, the poetic persona refer to them as the land that lays ambush to swallow, devour, and destroy.


This last stanza of the poem, Ambush sounds more like a concluding statement from the persona. Thus says the poet in stanza four of the poem, Ambush:

In brief, the country, the land and its leadership have become the people’s enemy rather than their partner in the quest for a better standard of living.

The state has not only failed in its sacred duty to create the kind of environment that will enable every Nigerian to work and realize their dreams. In fact, it has actively done everything, placing obstacles everywhere and lying in ambush ready to prevent the ambitious ordinary Nigerian to blossom and prosper.

In other words it further express that the last stanza concludes the poem with the important point that the land “lies patiently ahead”. The impression given here is two-fold. The first is that the land is patient and determined to see her desire and wish translated into reality. The other impression is that land, in its infiniteness, will always be ahead of the people treading on it. Given this background, we later learn that the land lies in ambush of people in pursuit of hopes and possibilities elsewhere,


the Three Pigeons, where Tony fraternizes with several other drunken men, they all urge Tony to sing a song, and he sings of how liquor provides the best learning, while traditional school wisdom can be ignorance. The song also touches on the hypocrisy of men of manners, who like liquor as much as anyone. The song is a great hit amongst the drunkards, who speak amongst themselves of how wonderful it is to hear songs that are not “low.” They also reminisce to themselves about Tony’s father, who was “the finest gentleman” in the way he celebrated life. The landlord brings news that two gentlemen have arrived, and are lost on their way to Mr Hardcastle’s house, Tony guesses quickly they must be Marlow and Hastings, and since Tony is still angry about Hardcastle’s insults, decides he will play a joke on his stepfather. He will convince them that Hardcastle’s house is in fact an inn and so will they present themselves there not as gracious guests, but as entitled patrons. He has the men brought to him. Marlow and Hastings are in poor spirits from a long day of travel, Hastings more so because Marlow’s reserve prevented him from asking directions. Tony gives them nonsensical directions to Hardcastle’s that make the place sound many miles away (when it is in fact down the road). Tony interrogates them, and they tell how they have heard about Hardcastle’s well-bred daughter and roguish, spoiled son. Tony argues that their information is reversed, that the son (himself) is much loved and the daughter is a “tall, trapesing, trolloping, talkative maypole”. The men ask the landlord if they can stay, but, at Tony’s instructions, he tells them there is no room, and so Tony suggests they head down to a nearby inn he knows of. He then gives directions to Hardcastle’s house, cautioning them that the landlord there puts on airs and expects to be treated as a gentleman rather than servant. They thank him, and leave for Hardcastle’s home, and so the stage is set for the comedy to come.


“Birches” was published in 1916. It should be noted that Frost’s “Bircher” was influenced by his boyhood experiences of winter and summer in Northern New England, where he would swing on birches, which was a popular game for children in rural areas of New England, one of the states on the east coast of America, In this poem, the reader is made to understand that the narrator looks at the birch trees in the forest and imagines that their bent nature is as a result of a boy “swinging” on them. However, he knows that the bending of the tree branches has been caused by ice, as a result of the weight of the ice on the branches. For the poet, climbing the birch is a means of freedom and thus the act of swinging on birches is presented as a way to escape the hard reality of life in its entirety, even if for a brief period of time. When the boy climbs the tree, the assumption is that he is ascending towards a celestial plane
of experience, “heaven”, a place where he and the elements of his imagination can be free. Climbing a birch is an opportunity to “get away from earth awhile/And then come back to it and begin over” The idea that runs through the poem is that the harsh realities of life make it imperative that a place of refuge, even if it is for a brief period of time be created or located. The birch tree becomes a transcendental escape from the worries of this earth. This conception is derived from a psychological reading of the poem. In this case, climbing birches seems synonymous with the imagination and the imaginative act is a push toward the surreal, the less practical and pragmatic. The poem is therefore very graphic. The poetic persona remembers his childhood days of climbing the birch trees and he is nostalgic. He takes the joy to describe the life/span of the birch tree. He describes the processes of leaves production to its withering with much childhood gusto. He explains the beautiful sight of the tree after the rain and after the breeze. He also describes how the shells crack open, causing a heap on the ground. He describes the beautiful sight as the dome of heaven falling. After being so engrossed in the sweet imagination, the poetic persona escapes out of his platonic utopia and reality dawns on him, the “truth broke in”.


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2020 WAEC GCE LITERATURE (DRAMA & POETRY) Questions and Answers

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