A few weeks ago, a friend of mine sent me a Derek Walcott poem (shared below). Since she sent it, I’ve been reading it almost daily.
It’s a gorgeous piece of writing, a reminder to embrace the alone-ness, when the time comes.
For those of you who have never heard of him, Derek Walcott was a St. Lucian Nobel Laureate. He grew up with parents who loved the arts, people who painted and read poetry. Walcott himself painted. And throughout his life, he wrote over two dozen plays, and published many collections of poetry.
As an undergrad, I majored in English Literature. People who study literature will often say it’s the love of reading which draws them to that field.
This is also true for me. But what’s also true is that as a child, my mom read to me before bed. Not the usual “sweet dreams” stories, though.
In nightly installments, she read Walcott’s Ti-Jean and his Brothers and Dream on Monkey Mountain – plays, which at that time, she herself had been reading while pursing her degree in English Literature.
Whether it was intentional or not, she’d wired my brain because years later, I found myself sitting in the very classrooms my mom would have sat years before, reading those same plays.
Many of Walcott’s titles (to me) sound romantic. Not the “red roses and hearts” kind of romance. Rather, titles with a certain “night-time-indigo-lush-garden-full-of-heady-scents” kind of romantic, often belying the content of the work.
Walker and the Ghost Dance
O Starry Starry Night
The Isle is Full of Noises
What the Twilight Says
And his Love After Love – which is as beautiful as the title suggests.
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I love this post. I didn’t know about Walcott, but so glad to know about Walcott now. The Love After Love poem is absolutely amazing. Perhaps you have to be at a certain point in your life to really understand and appreciate it, and at 49 it calls to me quite loudly. Thank you for bringing Walcott and his poems to me.
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