The physical structure of this poem has been altered from the original layout in the text.
You think I like this 5.stupidness! -
6.gallivanting all night without skin,
1.burning myself out like cane-fire
2.to frighten the foolish?
2.And for what? A few drops of baby blood?
2.You think I wouldn't rather
take my blood seasoned in fat
black-pudding, like everyone else?
And don't even talk 'bout the pain of salt
and having to bend these old bones down
to count a thousand grains of rice!
If only babies didn't smell so nice!
And if I could only stop
hearing 3.the soft, soft call
of that 7.pure blood running in new veins,
4.singing the sweet song of life
tempting an old, ...view middle of the document...
The 'newness' of the baby tempts the Ol' Higue, and she cannot resist because she is an old woman who fears death, which can only be avoided by consuming the baby's blood. She affirms her usefulness in the scheme of things, however, by claiming that she provides mothers with a name for their fears (this being the death of a child), as well as some-one to blame when the evil that they wish for their child, in moments of tired frustration, is realized. She implies that she will never die, so long as women keep having babies.
Cane-fire has a very distinct quality. It burns very quickly and its presence is felt through it's pungent smell. Therefore, when the Ol' Higue compares herself to cane fire in her fireball state, it implies that she uses a lot of energy quickly, and is very visible.
2. RHETORICAL QUESTION
Stanza 1,line 4: This rhetorical question highlights the scant regard that the Higue has for the average person. She is thoroughly annoyed that she has to literally waste her energy on them.
Stanza 1, line 5: This highlights the fact that, again, she is annoyed that she has to expend so much energy to obtain a few drops of baby blood.
Stanza 1, lines 6-8: The Ol' Higue is emphasizing the fact that regular people ingest blood too, just in a more palatable manner. She would not mind if she could ingest it in the same manner as well.
Stanza 3, lines 22-23: At this point the Ol' Higue is making excuses for her presence, claiming that she serves an actual purpose in the scheme of life. If a child dies of unknown causes, she can be scapegoated for it.
Stanza 3, lines 24-25: 'The murder inside your head' refers to the moments, when out...