In the poems “Once upon a Time” by Gabriel Okara and “A Contemplation Upon Flowers” by Henry King, both speakers yearn for transformation and spiritual renewal of their minds. In the poem “A Contemplation Upon Flowers” by Henry King the speaker reflects on his character. He compares the life of flowers to human life and how these flowers accept death with open arms, unlike him who fears it. He wishes to be brave like these flowers in the face of death. He also admires the humility of these flowers and wishes to have that quality in him.
He years for spiritual transformation because he does not want to spend the rest of his life fearing death but to live it to the fullest. In the poem “Once Upon A Time” by Gabriel Okara, the speaker also years for spiritual transformation. The speaker, who seems to be a father, compares his life as an innocent child to the complications he now faces as an adult and realizes that he is no longer happy with his life. He years for this spiritual transformation because he wants to learn from his son and no longer be fake and to also have back his old life where everything was done with a good heart.
King makes great use of personification to make us have a fair understanding of the poem. An example of this device is “Brave flowers that I could gallant it like you, and be as little vain. ” He uses the word ‘gallant’ to describe the bravery of these flowers and how they are not cowards in the face of death and the phrase ‘little vain’ to show these flowers are humble and gracious and he deeply admires these qualities and years to have them in himself.
Okara also makes great use of poetic devices. An example is a simile, “Most of all, I want to relearn how to laugh, for my laugh in the mirror shows only my teeth like a snake’s bare fangs. ” This tells us that he knows he is fake just like his friends and does not want to be like this. He years for transformation for this reason because he does not want to be hypocritical anymore and wants to laugh with love and meaning to regain his quality of sincerity.
The idea of spiritual transformation was used well in this poem. In both poems , the poets looks at the human conditions, specifically at man’s weakness and they both yearn for change in themselves to become better persons. I personally sympathize with both speakers in these poems because I too have my own weaknesses and fears that I too want to be transformed so that I can get over these and live my life happy and innocent, even when I become an adult.