pantoum: landing, 1976

By Evie Shockley Evie Shockley
dreaming the lives of the ancestors,
you awake, justly terrified of this world:
you could dance underwater and not get wet,
you hear, but the pressure is drowning you:
 
you’re awake, but just terrified of this world,
where all solids are ice: underwater boogie,
you hear, but the press sure is drowning you:
the igbo were walking, not dancing:

where all solids are ice, underwater boogie
is good advice, because they’re quick to melt:
the igbo were straight up walking, not dancing:
and you’ve still got to get through this life:
 
take my advice, quickly: they’re melting:
you could dance underwater and not get wet:
and you’ve got to, to get through this life still
dreaming the lives of the ancestors

Evie Shockley, “pantoum: landing, 1976” from a half-red sea, published by Carolina Wren Press. Copyright © 2006 by Evie Shockley. Reprinted by permission of Evie Shockley.

Source: a half-red sea (Carolina Wren Press, 2006)

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Poet Evie Shockley

POET’S REGION U.S., Southern

Subjects Relationships, Family & Ancestors, Social Commentaries, History & Politics, Race & Ethnicity

Poetic Terms Pantoum

 Evie  Shockley

Biography

Born and raised in Nashville, Tennessee, poet Evie Shockley earned a BA at Northwestern University, a JD at the University of Michigan, and a PhD in English literature at Duke University. The author of several collections of poetry, including a half-red sea (2006) and the new black (2011), Shockley is also the author of the critical volume Renegade Poetics: Black Aesthetics and Formal Innovation in African American Poetry . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Relationships, Family & Ancestors, Social Commentaries, History & Politics, Race & Ethnicity

POET’S REGION U.S., Southern

Poetic Terms Pantoum

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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