Much like the Caribbean people who struggle with their national identities after enduring European brutality, West Indian poets found it difficult to find their own poetic voice (Breiner, 113). Instead of producing works that reflected their true feelings, West Indian poets found their poetry succumbing to the traditional British verse and subject matters. It was not until later that West Indian poets were permitted to liberally express themselves in the poetic form. When they ventured to write parallel to their true feelings and beliefs, West Indian poets often did so apologetically. Poets were left to question their poetic boundaries. Likely questions of the poets were whether or not they should engage in "social commentary, protests," or seek to find a balance between "protest poetry and high art" (Jennings 23). As a result, much of the West Indian poetry, including Eric Roach's, conveyed uncertainty and confusion.
Known for Caribbean pastoral imagery in his writing (Jennings 4), Roach paints vivid pictures that show beauty of the land. In each stanza of the poem, the poet conveys his adoration of the land. The poem opens with sensual imagery which allows the reader to picture lush green vegetation and hear waves breaking amid the expansive blue waters. Roach further enjoys what the land has to offer by accompanying others on a jubilant banana boat tour. Roach's imaginative perception of the landscape serves a dual purpose; it captures the essence of Caribbean beauty and showcases the delight that the author takes in his land.
Amid the beauty in each stanza, however, resides negativity and inner turmoil. Roach reveals that the internal conflict interrupts his ability to fully appreciate his surroundings. In the first stanza, the beauty and brilliance of the landscape intrudes upon his desires. Though pleasing to the eye, Roach's surroundings hold his dreams and aspirations hostage. From there, the poem digresses into an explanation of the role of restriction and how it ultimately tainted his view of the land. With songs in his heart, Roach once again optimistically attempts to enjoy what the land has to offer in the following stanza. However, the enjoyable excursion is short-lived as the sun turns to snow and they encounter "hostile and exploding zones." Thus, inner turmoil and confusion taints the joys and hopes presented in the poem.
Each stanza of the poem conveys an absolute contrast between the land and the Roach's state of mind. In the beginning of the poem, the distant beautiful and crashing waves are empty, yet they engulf all of his dreams. It seems that the water represents a destructive force. Roach comments on the burial of his friend and his sister's beauty being tainted. Obviously, the vicious experiences take a toll on the people of the land. In spite of it all, however, the people remain steadfast in their desire to survive. Once again, hope is presented in the people's perseverance to regenerate their confidence. Moreover, the people's perseverance encourages Roach to proclaim that love (the pride in their heritage and nation) defeats the oppressive struggle.
In the end, the Roach finally admits the struggle in coming to terms with the tainted precedence before him and the will to purify it