Wednesday, January 25, 2017

UNBOUND by Ann E. Burg

UNBOUND: A Novel in Verse by Ann E. Burg, about young could-pass-for-white Grace's journey from her Mama's arms to houseslave to runaway slave making a new home in the Great Dismal Swamp (Virginia and North Carolina).

Some things to note:

The book is written in dialect. The g's are dropped, and all "and"s are shortened to "n."

The poems do not have titles.

Bound/unbound is a metaphor that works on a lot of levels in the book.

It's beautiful and hopeful and full of love, and Grace uses what power she has to make her life (and the lives of her loved ones) better.

Here is a passage I particular enjoyed:

Silent as moonlight
we glide
into the forever water.

guides the canoe
round a narrow bend,
windin us
farther away
from the riverbank,
father away
from Mama's cabin
n the Big House,
from Master Allen
n the Missus,
father away
from Aunt Sara
n Aunt Tempie,
from Anna
n Uncle Moses,
farther away
from everythin
I ever knew.

Farther n farther
into darkness
we drift,
till before long,
we disappear too.

Far off,
a solitary cypress
keeps watch,
its ghostly silhouette
rising from
the dark water.

The only sounds
is the distant,
lonesome squawks
of the night heron,
the tiny swash n ripple
of our canoe,
n the soft,
silver prayers
Mama's sendin
to heaven.

Bove me,
the stars sparkle
low n bright.
I reach in my pocket
n squeeze Aunt Sara's small,
broken button.

I listen to the quiet
n wonder
what new world
is waitin.

1 comment:

  1. I read this for the Cybil's poetry, Irene, and did love it, too. I tried to imagine what that journey must have been like. They were so brave! I'd never heard of that "secret" village. That "broken button" line is heartbreaking.


Your thoughts?