Throughout the poem, one of the major poetic devices the poet utilized to assist in the portrayal of the theme of nourishment and motherhood is through connotative diction. In the poem, the poet employed vocabulary intentionally and effectively to convey connotative meaning beyond the literal meaning. For example, at the beginning of the poem, Nichols uses metaphor and creates image of water to express her mother's influence and meaning to her. In line 3, he writes "deep and bold and fathoming" The use of the word "fathoming" here suggests depth of understanding and implies that her mother encouraged her to stretch the limits of what she ordinarily comprehend to develop herself. It alludes to how her mother's personality was a "measure" for her to compare, aspire and liken herself to.
The simplistic syntax and grammar of this sentence is also purposefully utilized by the poet to reflects the perspective of childhood, which establishes a light-hearted tone and in turns, evokes feelings of childhood and motherhood in the read and contribute to the theme of nourishment. As the poem progress to the next stanza, the use of the word "mantling" connotes warmth, protection and security Nichols experienced during her childhood, which further explores the theme that mother is the source of nourishment for children . The deliberate use of "-ing" at the end of each stanza illustrates the life, presence and energy the mother has given her and that her mother's influence empowers her to this day. The diction plays a large role in conveying hidden meaning and revealing the poet's intention, both of which can also be portrayed through the use of imagery. Another way that Hughes conveys the theme of equality of race is through the use of imagery in the poem. For instance, Hughes utilises a lot of nature images from her childhood memories in the native country of Guyana, where the poet subtly conveys the beauty of maternal protection.
In line 12, "the flame tree's spread to me" creates an image of a tree with vibrant red leaves that is unique and stand out on its own. The red colours of flame tree connotes passion, power and maternal love and the use of nature imagery as metaphors to describe her mother indicates that the subject has great strength and internal beauty..