In his poem “Love Poem for My Country,” Sandile Dikeni introduces every stanza with “my country is for...” as a kind of refrain. Then he presents a particular aspect of and hope for his country: love, peace, joy, health and wealth, and unity.
The repetition of “my country” at the beginning of each stanza provides focus for the poem. The title begins the refrain, letting readers know the poet's main center of attention: his country. Each stanza then develops one theme through vivid imagery. For instance, in the first stanza about love, the poet speaks of the valleys and ancient rivers as well as the “full circle of life” that the birds watch from on high as they adorn the sky.
It is easy for us readers to get caught up in this beautiful word painting and forget that the poet is talking about his country, but he does not let us forget. In the next stanza, he returns to his refrain, this time noting that his country is “for peace.” Again, he provides an unexpected image of peace with glittering reptiles caressing the veld “with elegant motions.” We are likely surprised by this image, yet again the poet does not let us forget his main point. He returns to his country at the beginning of each of the following stanzas, not allowing his vivid language to overwhelm his main focus.
Furthermore, the repetition of “my country” adds emphasis to the poem. The poet stresses his country again and again, making readers pay special attention to this place that seems to stand at the center of the poet's heart and hopes.