Limbo

About the Poem 'limbo' by Brathwaite

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Stanza 1-5

'And limbo stick is the silence in front of me
limbo 

limbo
limbo like me
limbo'

 

Threat/danger sign

Same repeated rhythm like a drum

1 of 7

Stanza 5- 15

'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' 

 

Start of voyage- slave ship - took African slaves to Caribbean

Short sharp alliteration - slaves being beaten 

2 of 7

Stanza 15 - 20

'long dark deck ans 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' 

Similar suggests being trapped

stick slaves are beaten with & limbo pole

hopelessness of slave

3 of 7

Stanza 25-30

'drum stick knock
and the darkness is over me

knees spread wide
and the water is hiding '

 

beatings - short hard consonants

low ceilings on ship & leaning back for the limbo dance 


4 of 7

Stanza 35-40

'down
down
down

and the drummer is calling me

limbo
limbo like me'

 

Repetition- bad conditions on ship - emphasis

hope- like a friend


5 of 7

Stanza 40-50

'sun coming up
and the drummers are praising me

out of the dark
and the dumb gods are raising me

up
up
up

and the music is saving me' 

New hope- lifted out of darkness

Survives voyage- slow three step beat shows he's tired but still alive



6 of 7

Stanza - last

'hot
slow
step

on the burning ground.

 

Suggests he's reached hell

full stop-  only one in the poem- end of dance, end of voyage, end of his life

7 of 7

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