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Friday, April 22, 2011

Poetry Friday--White Egrets


White Egrets: Poems by Derek Walcott [811.54 WAL], is a slim volume with many numbered, but otherwise untitled, poems. Being a cat person, I was particularly attracted to poem #2.
Your two cats, squat, heraldic sphinxes, with such
desert indifference, such "who-the-hell-are-you?" calm,
they rise and stride away leisurely from your touch,
waiting for you only. To be cradled in one arm,
belly turned upward to be stroked by a brush
tugging burrs from their fur, eyes slitted
in ecstasy. The January sun spreads its balm
on earth's upturned belly, shadows that have always fitted
their shapes, re-fit them. Breakers spread welcome.
Accept it. Watch how spray will burst
like a cat scrambling up the side of a wall,
gripping, sliding, surrendering; how, at first,
its claws hook then slip with a quickening fall
to the lace-rocked foam. That is the heart, coming home,
trying to fasten on everything it moved from,
how salted things only increase its thirst.
I like the way the poem seamlessly slides from cats to the Caribbean to the heart.

Visit Book Aunt for this week's Poetry Friday Round-Up.

Photo by Geoffrey Philp.

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