Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Poem Research

Kamau Brathwaite was born in Barbados, and lived there for most of life. He went to Harrison College in Barbados and got an honors BA at Pembroke College in Cambridge, England, and also a Diploma of Education. Mr. Brathwaite worked as an education officer in Ghana and teaching at the Jamaican campus of the University of the West Indies for some time. He later got a Philosophy Doctorate from the University of Sussex. Despite having written many nonfiction works as well, he is best known for his poetry. He usually writes about things that are deep and touching for most people, things that go back to the African roots of many people who live in the Caribbean. The poetry tends to talk about historical events that are very important or impactful to that particular geographical area.

The poem, at first glance, seems serene and cool. Clear blue waters, fish swimming about, calm scenery. But with closer inspection, as well as a dictionary to look up many of the odd words, it becomes clear that the poem is darker than it initially seemed. "...footsteps of sand from the bottom of the ocean/become the thin road to Eleuthera/long & thin upon the water walking/until there is suddenly a black stone/a dark/veil kabala surrounding by whorls/of worship..." There are dark jewels and salt, making landscapes that make sharp sounds and civilizations becoming increasingly more intertwined, spreading through the water, but remaining silent. It's almost scary how everything just changes, from being so calm to being so worrisome. And then everything ends just as silently as it began. "and this great planet passing upwards towards us/out this silence & drifting & blessing of the water". There are connected beaches, connected by their languages and tastes for fish. It starts out about the fish, but it ends with the humans spreading across the ocean like a stain, perhaps representing how humanity tends to devour what is in its way and take the best parts of what it wants - precious jewels, salt - leaving little regard for what it leaves in its wake.

Works Cited

"Writers of the Caribbean - Kamau Brathwaite." Writers of the Caribbean - Kamau Brathwaite. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 May 2014.

Poets.org. Academy of American Poets, n.d. Web. 13 May 2014.

"Eleuthera Bahamas :: Island of Freedom." Eleuthera Bahamas (Eluthera Eleuthra) Maps, Rentals, Hotels. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 May 2014.

"Open Letters: An Open Letter to Arabic Labials." McSweeney's Internet Tendency. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 May 2014.

"Pellucid." Merriam-Webster. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 13 May 2014.

"Kabala." Merriam-Webster. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 13 May 2014.

"Meer." Merriam-Webster. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 13 May 2014.