15 November 2008

Dennis Scott's "Epitaph"

They hanged him on a clement morning, swung
between the falling sunlight and the women's
breathing like a black apostrophe to pain.
All morning while the children hushed
their hopscotch joy and the cane kept growing
he hung there sweet and low.
At least that's how
they tell it. It was long ago...

Appreciate the poem further here.


Michelle said...

This is such a compelling, painful, important poem. Thank you, R.

Rethabile said...

Every word seems to count, and play its own vital role in the message of the poem. It's a tough act.

paisley said...

wreaks with the frustration of an anger forged of a past that cannot be changed....

bravo!!! you always bring your best to the table ret.....

Rethabile said...

A brilliant rendition of a solitary moment, indeed.

sammyjbraidy said...

I really do not like this poem..It is too ambiguous and raises too many unanswered questions..Such a sensitive topic should have been dealt with more clearly through the poem.

Rethabile said...

That's why poetry is so darn good. One likes a piece or doesn't. To me this is a very good poem that does two things: communicates (stimulates) and does it well (touching the right senses in the right way).

But like I say, it's art, so beauty is in your eye.

Anonymous said...

Epitaph-could mean the words written on a tombstone.

The first half of the poem describes the scene following the hanging of a slave on a sugar cane plantation. In the morning the women, children are sympathetic towards the brutal hanging of the slave.It is ironic that such a thing could occur on a clement morning.(clement-calm, pleasant,mild)

The second half describes the reaction of those reading about it long afterwards. It begins by callously (harshly) dismissing the hanging slave as irrelevant to this generation long out slavery: the final four lines ashores us, however , that deaths are indeed felt as we look at our island history

*the poem is written in free verse

*theme- death