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!