Derek Walcott, 1930-2017

‘Rhyme remains the parenthesis of palms,’
possibly misquoted, by myself, not the man,
that islander, playwright, poet, and giant,
gifted in language: ‘one of the chosen.’

Born under flesh-stained colonial rule,
he ran fast ‘cross the pink law of the Empire’s tongue:
stood huge on a platform, with Seamus and verse,
to see off the trains commuting their words.

It was the tidal returns, the moon’s low fold,
which refilled the pen he always held:
that implement, squat, was his quick mouthpiece,
the wordy, Saint Lucian, commander of language.

Along Brodsky, and Heaney, he will loudly reverb,
as his silent waves rise on sand-scribed words:
and the triumvirate will laugh at their own bawdy jokes,
in their office of tongues those three foreigners spoke.


 

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