In the poem, “My Arrival”, James Berry provides a warm and personal narrative of his birth. His speech is deliberate throughout, with each word spoken clearly and in a measured tone, reflecting deep thought as he reflects upon the anticipation and excitement of those closest and dearest to him as they welcome his arrival. He is matter-of-fact in describing his birth, speaking in short phrases with pauses in between.
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But as he talks about the eagerness of his father awaiting his arrival, his tone changes into a dreamy drawl as he takes us through the timeless beauty of nature. One can almost picture the strong visual imageries through his voice. His tone is melodious when he tells us that “the moon floated somewhere”, he stresses on the words “drummed and drummed” as if to emphasize the repeated action of the sea crashing against the coastline and again on the word “darted” which conveys excitement and anticipation.
He gets more personal with his mother and grandmother, imitating the tone of their own voices as they respond to his birth. He observes his mother’s strong maternal instincts through his gentle portrayal of a concerned mother expressing relief that her baby is alright, while his grandmother’s raw emotions at the significance of his birth is also well captured through the tenderness of his tone. The poem closes with the “back to nature” theme with the burial of his umbilical cord signifying the end of all the action and activity surrounding his birth.