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”: The poem ‘Postcards From God’ was written by Imtiaz Dharker, a British poet, artist, and video filmmaker. It is a postmodern poem, which was published in 1994 in his book of the same title, Postcards from God, along with several other well-known poems. The poem stands out due to its exceptional poetic quality, achieved through the use of free verse, which captures the speaker’s yearning for solace from God in the face of isolation, despite being surrounded by a world teeming with people and interpreters.
  • “Postcards from god” As a Representative of Isolation and Consolation: The poet opens the poem with this confession that he considers himself a visitor of this world where he constantly relies on interpreters. He only talks to them to figure out where to go, while they just keep talking. Yet, he wants to see the landmarks in the streets that also seem to demand those signs. Since the places seem strange to him, he’s like Hamlet in Shakespeare, thinking the timing isn’t right. So, he keeps remembering her past, thinking about all those images on the postcards that no one sends him anymore.
    While speaking to someone, he candidly admits that he is not addressing just anyone, but engaging in a poetic recitation that represents his introspection. However, he reflects on the idea that both he and someone else may find fulfillment by jointly engaging in this experience. The final stanza of four lines seems a confession that he has received these memories as postcards from god to have evidence that he visited this place. These are just to remove or eliminate her fears that bring him some consolation.
  • 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 him, are also looking for landmarks. However, he thinks the timing is unsuitable, as it evokes his memories of past recollections when he reminisces about the postcards sent to him. Afterwards, he experiences a profound sense of isolation and employs apostrophic language to address someone, unintentionally overlooking the real recipient, conveying his intention to console both that person and possibly even God, as evident from his subsequent invocation of God to show his resolve in conquering fear.

Analysis of Poetic Devices Used in Postcards from God

literary devices are crucial instruments for the creation of poetry or prose. The analysis of these devices in the poem is given below.

  1. Assonance: Assonance is the repetition of vowel sounds in the same line, such as the sound of /i/ in “a tourist in this world” and the sound of /uh/ in “I am nothing but a space”.
  2. Alliteration: It is the use of successive consonant sounds in the initials of the successive words, such as /p/ in “promised past” and “Picture postcards” and the sound of /l/ in “looking for landmarks”.
  3. Consonance: Consonance is the repetition of consonant sounds in the same line, such as the sound of /t/ and /r/ in “I walk around through battered streets”, the sound of /m/ and /r/ in “Picture postcards overlap my empty face,” and the sound of /d/ 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 personified images, time, and postcards as if they have life and emotions of their own.
  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.