Name some images in the poem "An Adandoned Bundle" by Oswald Mbuyiseni Mtshali.

Expert Answers
Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Let's start with identifying what images are. Images are the result of a poetic device that uses sensory descriptors to project images on the mind's eye. Sensory descriptors are words that relate to what can be tasted, smelled, heard, touched, or seen. These sensory descriptors are called olfactory, anosmic, auditory, tactile, and visual, respectively.

A visual image might be: The curtains fluttered like falling leaves. You must see the curtains and the leaves. A tactile image might be: The kitten's fur slipped like silk through her fingers. You must touch and feel the fur and must have once felt silk. An auditory image might be: The mockingbird's song sounded like the songs of seven species ... and a kitten's mew! You have to hear the mockingbird and you have to have heard the other birds (and a kitten).

An anosmic image might be: The rain-soaked leaves brought back the smell of an afternoon storm in lush Johannesburg. You have to smell both the present leaves and the past lush foliage. An olfactory image might be: The pickled corn tasted like Rouqulette in the Alps. You have to taste the pickled corn and the Rouqulette cheese; plus perhaps feel the chill of the Alps. An image with mixed sensory descriptors might be: The chocolate mousse tasted like velvet heaven on a moonless night under stars like bells. You have to taste the chocolate mousse, feel the velvet, see the moonless night, and hear the bells!

"An Abandoned Bundle" is loaded with sensory images in virtually every line. You will be able to find as many as you need yourself now--look for descriptors that build mental images and rely on tastes, sounds, smells, touch, sights--but to get you started, we'll mention a few.

  • Mist must be felt in "morning mist." This is tactile and visual as morning is seen.
  • "Chimney smoke" is both seen and smelled.
  • "White City" builds a visual image of buildings all of white.
  • "[S]mothered our little houses" is both anosmic and tactile as "thick yellow" smoke can be smelled and being "smothered" can be felt.

The gentle images of the first three lines have quickly become oppressive images.

  • You must have seen fish caught in nets to visualize "like fish caught in a net."
  • "[F]licked velvet tongues of scarlet" combines visual ("flicked") with tactile ("velvet") and another visual ("scarlet").