Poem Title: The Nest
Global Issue Focus: Children provide joy towards a community by giving them the purpose of parenthood
In the poem The Nest from the Green Rice poem collection, Lam Thi My Da utilises structure and symbolism to emphasise the global issue of how children provide joy towards a community by giving them the purpose of parenthood. The first piece of evidence that can be taken from the text is through the structure itself: a sonnet. Sonnet forms–multiple quatrains + rhyming couplet– are generally used to convey a form of love or appreciation for its topic. In the case of Shakespearean sonnets, they were utilised to discuss his warping love. But for The Nest, the sonnet form highlights the appreciation of the effect that children have on the community.
Having said that, the effects of the children are elaborated within the poem by the symbolism of eggs and dry straw. In lines 13-14, it is described that the “Strands of straw and grass” (13) are “Woven without soul” (14). Once the context of community is valued, it can be interpreted that although the community–made up of individuals of straw and grass–may be exist, there is no real purpose or culture. Later on in the poem, when the egg is introduced to the nest made up of straw and grass, the strands “Become musical strings//When they touch the egg” (15-16). In other words, if the egg were to represent the children and the youth of society, the community only becomes lively once they are introduced to the egg. Musical strings have purpose, that being bringing music and sound into the world, which contrasts greatly against the previous line that stated that such individuals are “woven together without soul”.
This idea of ‘sound versus silence’ is not only shown in the previous example, but also through the description of the egg: “A single ivory egg//Like life’s chanting voice” (5-6). The chanting voice of the egg gives connotations of a lively, invigorating crowd, which overpowers the “Mysterious silence” (1) that mentioned in line 1. The silence references the muteness, possibly referring the concept that although society may be made up of the collection of individuals, there is no culture that brings joy or purpose. However, the egg, being the youth that it is, gives the gift and job of parenthood to the community, allowing such individuals to pour their soul into such development. From there, the community is able to build their identity around, which is referenced in lines 17-18: “Then the egg seems//To give the nest a heart”. It’s through the “heart” that the egg(the youth) pumps both life and soul through the community.