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Friday, March 24, 2017

Poetry Friday--Derek Walcott

Poet Derek Walcott passed away last week at the age of 87. Walcott taught for many years in Boston, and did readings in the Boston area. I was lucky enough to have heard him read his work a few years back.

Walcott, born on the island of St. Lucia, was a poet of world renown. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1992.

He had a distinctive voice, which you can experience by listening to him read his poem, "Sea Grapes."




I'd like to share part III of poem 16. "In the Village" from White Egrets: Poems [811.54 WAL]:
Who has removed the typewriter from my desk,
so that I am a musician without his piano
with emptiness ahead as clear and grotesque
as another spring? My veins bud, and I am so
full of poems, a wastebasket of black wire. The notes outside are visible; sparrows will
line antennae like staves, the way springs were,
but the roofs are cold and the great grey river
where a liner glides, huge as a winter hill,
moves imperceptibly like the accumulating
years. I have no reason to forgive her
for what I brought on myself. I am past hating,
past the longing for Italy where blowing snow
absolves and whitens a kneeling mountain range
outside Milan. Through glass, I am waiting
for the sound of a bird to unhinge the beginning
of spring, but my hands, my work, feel strange
without the rusty music of my machine. No words
for the Arctic liner moving down the Hudson, for the mange
of old snow moulting from the roofs. No poems. No birds.

We are all "waiting for the sound of a bird to unhinge the beginning of spring," but we'll no longer have Derek Walcott to show us how beautiful it will be.

Reading to the Core is the place to be for this week's Round-Up--check it out!



13 comments:

  1. Yes, Walcott had a very deep resonate voice. What a loss to the poetry world and how fortunate you were to hear him read in person. Thanks for sharing this poem.

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  2. Fantastic words assembled magnificently. Great tribute.

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  3. Thank you for this memorial! "Unhinge" is so often used in a negative way, so it is particularly lovely to read it here as an opening to beauty and wonder... the magic box that is spring! Thank you!

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  4. I loved "Who has removed the typewriter from my desk,
    so that I am a musician without his piano"
    Just so you know, some words were used from a poem on your post to use in the new Scavenger Hunt today! http://mainelywrite.blogspot.com/2017/03/poetry-friday.html

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  5. I've been reading and listening to past interviews - what a poet, what a loss.

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  6. Powerful imagery. Interesting rhyme scheme creates subtle music in these lines. I feel a sadness in "No words . . . No poems. No birds." Especially since we are waiting for the "sound of a bird to unhinge the beginning of spring."

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  7. What a lovely tribute to a powerful poet. Thank you for sharing.

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  8. Such a mystery in this evocative poem, new to me. I like a poem where I am left questioning.
    Why remove the typewriter? They have separated? She wants him to work less? They are moving?

    Listening at your link to "Sea Grapes" takes me to an island way south
    of here where I was sheltered in a sea grape forest on a hot
    summer day. I had forgotten that moment until now.

    Tara, your memorial makes me want to spend more time with Derek Walcott's works.
    I feel that you are fortunate to have heard him read in person.

    Appreciations.

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  9. Derek Walcott has been on my list to explore for a long time, and I finally started reading Omeros a bit more than a week before he died. I'm really enjoying his Caribbean voice. Thanks for this post!

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  10. Thank you for sharing this gorgeous poem. I'm also "waiting/for the sound of a bird to unhinge the beginning/of spring."

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  11. Diane, thanks for sharing both of these moving poems of Derek Walcott's. The "accumulating years" bring so much but take so much away so quickly. Hope spring's songbirds come to your area soon.

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  12. I especially like "My veins bud, and I am so
    full of poems, a wastebasket of black wire. The notes outside are visible; sparrows will
    line antennae like staves" -- such vivid images. Thanks, Diane.

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  13. Wow.
    Just wow.
    What beautiful, beautiful words....and unexpected images.
    My veins bud...so full of poems.
    that liner, gliding.
    wow.

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