Postcards from God

Postcards from God

By Imtiaz Dharker

Yes, I do feel like a visitor,
a tourist in this world
that I once made.
I rarely talk,
except to ask the way,
distrusting my interpreters,
tired out by the babble
of what they do not say.
I walk around through battered streets,
distinctly lost,
looking for landmarks
from another, promised past.

Here, in this strange place,
in a disjointed time,
I am nothing but a space
that sometimes has to fill.
Images invade me.
Picture postcards overlap my empty face
demanding to be stamped and sent.

‘Dear . . . ’
Who am I speaking to?
I think I may have misplaced the address,
but still, I feel the need
to write to you;
not so much or your sake
as for mine,

to raise these barricades
against my fear:
Postcards from god.
Proof that I was here.

Summary of Postcards From God

  • Popularity of “Postcards from god”: “Postcards From God” by, Imtiaz Dharker, a British poet, artist, and video filmmaker, is a postmodern poem. It first appeared in 1994 in his book of the same title, Postcards from God, along with several other well-known poems. The unique poetic quality of the poem lies in its free verse expression to revert to god for consolation in isolation despite being a visitor of the world full of people and interpreters.
  • “Postcards from god” As a Representative of Isolation and Consolation: The poet opens the poem with this confession that she considers herself a visitor of this world where she constantly relies on interpreters. She only talks to them to seek directions to the new destinations, while they seem to babble to her. Yet, she wants to see the landmarks in the streets that also seem to demand those signs. As the places seem strange to her, she thinks that the time is not right like Hamlet of Shakespeare. Therefore, she continues recalling her past, thinking about different images and pictures on the postcards that nobody sends her now. Addressing somebody, she opens up her heart, saying that she is not talking to anybody as this poetic recitation is just her rumination but she thinks that she might be contented that someone for the sake of both; for her isolation and his consolation. The final stanza of four lines seems a confession that she has received these memories as postcards from god to have evidence that she has visited this place. These are just to remove or eliminate her fears. This is what consoles her.
  • Major Themes in “Postcards from god”: The sense of being a visitor, the isolation, and the consolation from God are the major themes of this poem. The poet feels like a transient visitor of this world having interpreters and the vast world of streets that are battered and abandoned. They, like her, are also looking for landmarks. Yet, it seems to her that the time is not suitable as it brings her memories of the old recollections in which she recalls postcards sent to her. Then she feels isolated and use apostrophic words to address somebody but forget the real address to state that she feels the need to write to console her as well as that person or maybe god, as she addresses god in the very next line to show that she wants to eliminate her fear.

Analysis of Poetic Devices Used in “Postcards from God”

literary devices are tools essential for poetic or prose writing. The analysis of these devices in the poem as given below shows this fact.

  1. Assonance: Assonance is the repetition of vowel sounds in the same line such as the sound of /i/ in “Yes, I do feel like a visitor”, /a/ in “I rarely talk” and “I walk around through battered streets” the sound of /e/ in “demanding to be stamped and sent.”
  2. Alliteration: It is the use of successive consonant sounds in the initials of the successive words such as /p/ in “promised past”, again /p/ in “Picture postcards.”
  3. Consonance: Consonance is the repetition of consonant sounds in the same line such as the sound of /t/ in “I walk around through battered streets”, /p/ in “Picture postcards overlap my empty face,” and the sound of /m/ in “I think I may have misplaced the address.”
  4. Enjambment: It is defined as a thought in verse that does not come to an end at a line break; rather, it rolls over to the next line. For example;

Picture postcards overlap my empty face
demanding to be stamped and sent.

  1. Imagery: Imagery is used to make readers perceive things involving their five senses. The poem shows the use of imagery such as “I am nothing but a space”, “Images invade me” and “Picture postcards overlap my empty face.”
  2. Metaphor: It is a figure of speech in which an implied comparison is made between the objects that are different. The poem shows the use of metaphors such as battered streets, disjointed times, images, and postcards.
  3. Personification: The poet has shown the use of images, time, and postcards as if they have life and emotions of their own. The poet has personified them.
  4. Symbolism: Symbolism is using symbols to signify ideas and qualities, giving them symbolic meanings that are different from literal meanings. The poem shows the use of the symbols such as time, postcards, and place to show that the poet has kept her past in her mind.

 Analysis of Poetic Devices Used in “Postcards from God”

Poetic and literary devices are the same, but a few are used only in poetry. Here is the analysis of some of the poetic devices used in this poem.

  1. Diction: The poem shows the use of highly figurative language used dexterously.
  2. Free Verse: The poem does not follow any rhyme scheme. Therefore, it is a free verse poem.
  3. Stanza: A stanza is a poetic form of some lines. There are four stanzas in this poem with each having a different number of verses.

Quotes to be Used

These lines from “Postcards from god” are relevant to use when delivering a lecture or a motivational speech on the importance of relations in life.

I think I may have misplaced the address,
but still, I feel the need
to write to you;
not so much or your sake
as for mine.