The Yellow Palm

Instead of a normal analysis, I am here today to offer some notes on the content of the poem. These ideas, as said before on numerous occasions, can be used in essays, but if you choose to use my words, word for word, you have to give me credit. Your teacher simply knows your standard of writing and will know when it is not you writing, so she will Google the words and find me, resulting in disqualification for you.

Cultural and historical references in the poem

  • Palestine Street – a major street in Baghdad (although not the street that Minhinnick identifies as the inspiration for his poem), also known as Falastin Street.
  • Poison gas – a term to describe chemical weapons such as mustard gas and chlorine gas. Poison gas was used by Iraq against Iran during the Iran–Iraq War and also (allegedly) against its own Kurdish minority. The UN supervised the destruction of a quantity of chemical weapons in Iraq after the first Gulf War.
  • Muezzin – the person who calls the faithful to prayer at mosque.
  • Imperial Guard – the unit of volunteers (largely) who originally served as Iraqi President Saddam Hussein’s personal bodyguard. The unit’s remit broadened into a wider military one.
  • Mother of all Wars (or Mother of all Battles) – President Saddam Hussein’s description of the first Gulf War.
  • Tigris – river flowing through Baghdad.
  • Cruise missile – a guided missile that can carry conventional, chemical, biological or nuclear warheads. Cruise missiles were used by both ‘sides’ during the first Gulf War.
  • Yellow palm – a type of date-producing palm tree that is frequently mentioned in the Qu’ran. The tree’s leaves, bark and fruit are used for a variety of purposes including timber, rope, food and fuel.
  • Salaam – an Arabic greeting (meaning ‘peace’) which is used throughout the world, mainly by Muslims. In the Middle East, it is accompanied by two or three light cheek kisses, usually between people of the same gender. It is a shortening of As Salaam Alaykum (peace be upon you).

Using these notes you should be able to write an analysis of the poem.