Into Death Bravely

By Jimmy Santiago Baca b. 1952
Winter
throws his great white shield
on the ground,
breaking thin arms of twisting branches,
and then howls
on the north side of the Black Mesa
a deep, throaty laughter.
Because of him
we have to sell our cattle
that rake snow for stubble.
Having lived his whole life
in a few weeks,
slow and pensive he walks away,
dragging his silver-stream shield
down branches
and over the ground,
he keeps walking slowly away
into death
bravely.

"Into Death Bravely" by Jimmy Santiago Baca, from Black Mesa Poems. Copyright © 1989 by Jimmy Santiago Baca. Used by permission of New Directions Publishing Corp., www.ndpublishing.com.

Source: Black Mesa Poems (New Directions Publishing Corporation, 1989)

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Poet Jimmy Santiago Baca b. 1952

POET’S REGION U.S., Southwestern

Subjects Nature, Winter, Living, Death

Poetic Terms Imagery, Epigram, Free Verse, Pastoral

 Jimmy Santiago Baca

Biography

Born in 1952 in Santa Fe of Chicano and Apache descent, Jimmy Santiago Baca was abandoned by his parents and at 13 ran away from the orphanage where his grandmother had placed him. He was convicted on drug charges in 1973 and spent five years in prison. There he learned to read and began writing poetry. His semiautobiographical novel in verse, Martin and Meditations on the South Valley (1987), received the 1988 Before Columbus . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Nature, Winter, Living, Death

POET’S REGION U.S., Southwestern

Poetic Terms Imagery, Epigram, Free Verse, Pastoral

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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