Wednesday, 14 June 2017

According to an online article, “Matthew Shenoda is an Egyptian poet and former assistant provost for equity and diversity and faculty member in the School of Critical Studies at the Califonia Institute of the Arts.

Shenoda is on the editorial board of the African Poetry Book Series and lives in Chicago with his family.” Living Ancients by Matthew Shenoda looks at the issue of legacy in a very different way. He believes that burial is a very important aspect of human existence and must be well done. 

He referred to every living being as a living ancient because they too will die and become some other people’s ancestors. From a literal meaning, ancient can be defined as an existence or occurring in time long past, usually in remote ages, belonging to or associated with antiquity. But from the context of this poem, the word “ancients” is directed towards the long dead people (the ancestors). 

This twelve lines of free verse sees death as a channel for human immortality rather than a means of putting an end to a living breath “we will stand by the graves of our teachers/ and know that we/ like those we’ve buried/ are living ancients”. 

The phrase “ever-live” in line 8 points at his believe in immortality; where the phrase should have been clearly written as “forever living”. “our teachers” in line 9 is a metonym meant for anyone who is responsible for our growths (mentally, physically and spiritually). “young healthy” show that humans become vulnerable to death through aging and ill-health. 

Living Ancients by Matthew Shenoda is a poem with a mild tone of reminder though some words that portray sadness is used by the poet ”mourning” “graves” “buried”. The poem can be placed under the category of death and living since both parts are mentioned and the setting of the poem reveals a burial rite.

Samuel C. Enunwa aka samueldpoetry
(the Leo with wings flying)


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