Analysis of "An Abandoned Bundle" Notes

Analysis of "An Abandoned Bundle" Notes

By Oswald Mtshali (South Africa)
Image Source: (26/11/2022)

The morning mist

and chimney smoke

of White City Jabavu

flowed thick yellow

as pus oozing

from a gigantic sore.


It smothered our little houses

like fish caught in a net.


Scavenging dogs

draped in red bandanas of blood

fought fiercely

for a squirming bundle.


I threw a brick;

they barred fangs

flicked velvet tongues of scarlet

and scurried away,

leaving a mutilated corpse

an infant dumped on a rubbish heap-


‘Oh! Baby in the manger

sleep well

on human dung’.


Its mother

had melted into the rays of the rising sun,

her face glittering with innocence

her heart as pure as untrampled dew.



01. About the Poet. Born in South Africa on 17th January 1940. He is a South African poet. He has written both in Zulu and English. He studied at Columbia University. He once worked as a messenger in Soweto before he became a poet, and his first book, ‘Sounds of Cowhide Drum’ (1971) explores both the brutality and extremity of apartheid through the eyes of working men of South Africa. His poems, which are most effective when read aloud are full of social criticism. In the anthology of ‘Selected Poems’ by TIE (1996), his poems like ‘Boy on a Swing’, ‘An Old Man in Church’, ‘Always a Suspect’, ‘The Master of the House’, and ‘An Abandoned Bundle’ have also been included.

02. Title of the poem. The title of the poem is metaphorical and symbolic. It is a metaphorical because it compares the thrown child as a “Bundle” without using conjunction. It is also symbolic because it reflects the contents of the poem, that is, the thrown child (An Abandoned Bundle).

03. Brief Summary/Paraphrase of the poem. The poem is about one morning in the city in the location called Jabavu where a certain mother throws away her child in a rubbish dump and dogs eat the corpse.

04. Persona. The persona of the poem is an individual who feels unhappy with the situation of throwing away the children.

05. Addressee. The addressee of the poem is any woman, man, or society that practices this unacceptable evil of throwing away innocent children.

06. Tone. The tone of the poet is ironical to the mother and sympathetic to the child. The tone also may be neutral because the poet explains the situation as a common thing.



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Emmanuel Kachele

Emmanuel Kachele is a founder and Blogger of KACHELE ONLINE Blog, an educational blog where 'O' Level English - 'OLE', 'A' Level English (ALE) and other related teaching and life skills are shared extensively. This is an online center for all Tanzanian Secondary School English Language students and teachers (Forms I-VI) and all interested English Language learners and teachers worldwide.

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