Limbo: Edward Kamau Braithwaite

Here is a poem about slavery that plays on the multiple meanings of the word ‘limbo’.  There is a clear reference to limbo dancing under the metal rod that was used on slave ships but the poem also references that state that exists outside of certainty.  The rhythm of the poem with repetitions echoes the beats of the drum as the limbo dancing takes place.

Limbo

And limbo stick is the silence in front of me
limbo

limbo
limbo like me
limbo
limbo like me

long dark night is the silence in front of me
limbo
limbo like me

stick hit sound
and the ship like it ready

stick hit sound
and the dark still steady

limbo
limbo like me

long dark deck and the water surrounding me
long dark deck and the silence is over me

limbo
limbo like me

stick is the whip
and the dark deck is slavery

stick is the whip
and the dark deck is slavery

limbo
limbo like me

drum stick knock
and the darkness is over me

knees spread wide
and the water is hiding

limbo
limbo like me

knees spread wide
and the dark ground is under me

 

down
down
down
and the drummer is calling me

limbo
limbo like me

sun coming up
and the drummers are praising me

out of the dark
and the dumb god are raising me

up
up
up

and the music is saving me

hot
slow
step

on the burning ground.

Edward Kamau Braithwaite

BlogBraithwaite

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s