Kazim Ali’s Unanswered Questions

Kazim Ali is an American poet who was born in 1971. The two works that he wrote that I will discuss are the poems, “Drone” and “Hymn.” “Drone” was written in 2016, while “Hymn” was written in 2012. In this blog, I will discuss the lines that resonated with me, what I thought about each poem, and how human beings (that are no longer with us) make lasting impressions on others.

In “Drone” a line that was powerful to me was “Do Strangers make you human.” This line stuck out to me because strangers make other human beings feel insecure about themselves. I think that not knowing a person can be daunting because people want to connect with others but without trust they cannot do that. When reading this sentence aloud, “Do Strangers make you human.” it sounds like a question but Kazim Ali puts a period at the end of that sentence. What I believe Kazim Ali is saying is that how many people over a persons lifespan do they actually remember? Also how did this person who made a lasting impression on someone else make them feel and why did it stick with them?

I believe that the overall message of the poem “Hymn” was saying that many people never do something worth living for. The lines in “Hymn” that I really fixated on were, “My heart is nickel, unearthed, and sent.” And “Who will I be next and in that life will you know me.” I believe that Kazim Ali is getting at the point that so many people come and go but not many people discover something hidden about themselves and share it with others. It feels as if they are just waiting for the next life to come and then they will begin their search for someone to understand them.

“Hymn” for me sounds like a child praying for their father to be ok, but at the end of the poem it does not seem like that will be the case. As it says, “Mine this awful empty night. Mine this unchiming bell, his unanswered prayers.” The fathers unresolved prayers did not seem to have a positive response as Kazim Ali makes it seem that once the father past away, the author took a, “road out of town” to take their mind off of losing their loved one. I found it to be quite interesting that the first two lines of “Hymn” start off with a personal perspective and for the last two lines he gives another firsthand point of view to finish his poem. In my opinion, I believe that Kazim Ali had a direct experience with losing a loved one and trying to find a positive way to deal with it.

Overall, I believe that Kazim Ali’s main overarching question about life is that through the usage of these two poems, other people can make us feel so many different ways. However, ultimately how did these people make us feel while they were alive? With that being said I think it is the way that people treat each other feel that will leave a lasting impression on others that will make them feel unique and special at a certain moment in time.

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