Epitaph: Slavery and Island Tale

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Epitaph

They hanged him on a clement morning, swung
Between the falling sunlight and the women’s
Breathing like a black apostrophe to pain
All morning while the children hushed
Their hopscotch joy and the cane kept growing
He hung there sweet and low
At least that’s how
They tell it. It was long ago
And what can we recall of a dead slave or two
Except that when we punctuate our island tale
They swing like signs across the brutal
Sentences and anger pauses
Till they pass away
Dennis Scott

The subject matter describes the scene following the hanging of a slave on a sugar plantation and reaction to such hangings by those on the island who read about it long afterwards.

1.What is an epitaph? The memory of a person who die?
2.What is clement? a mild cool weather
3.Irony is the opposite of what is taking place
4.Merciful is ironical
5. Women breathing women below breathing with difficulty in their grief

Apostrophe to pain means he was like someone speaking to pain itself/ belonged to pain While the children hushed their hopscotch joy means the playful children stopped their noisy ramping either because they were aware of the terrible event or because adults had scolded them into showing respect

The cane kept growing means the cane kept living while the man kept dying Sweet and low the allusion swing low looking forward to angels bringing a chariot low to carry him home to heaven and from slavery

At least that how they it was long ago means the writer is merely reporting how the story had come down to us many generations or in books

It was long ago and what means this happens so long that it cannot be expected to remember or feel anything about the death of such a slave or to emphasise that it was not really important to us.

Except that we punctuate our island tale means the writer admits that such deaths do affect us as we record our history...
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