Friday, October 19, 2012

Aimless Reading: The W's, Part 1 (Derek Walcott)

Selected Poems
Walcott, Derek
Selected Poems

Sent to me by the publisher. This is the book Walcott used for his reading in Buffalo. The post-it-notes he used stuck as page markers for the poems he read are still stuck to the pages. It is inscribed thus:

To Michael

with thanks


Buffalo 2008

I wrote a fairly lengthy blog post about Walcott's visit a few years back, which you can read here. I'd write more about it, but my daughter is crying and I have to catch a train to New York.

A City's Death By Fire
After the hot gospeller had leveled all but the churched sky,

I wrote the tale of tallow of a city's death by fire;
Under a candle's eye, that smoked in tears, I
Wanted to tell, in more than wax, of faiths that were snapped like wire.
All day I walked abroad among the rubbled tales,
Shocked at each wall that stood on the street like a liar;
Loud was the bird-rocked sky, and all the clouds were bales
Torn open by looting, and white, in spite of the fire.
By the smoking sea, where Christ walked, I asked, why
Should a man wax tears, when his wooden world fails?
In town, leaves were paper, but the hills were a flock of faiths;
To a boy who walked all day, each leaf was a green breath
Rebuilding a love I thought was dead as nails,
Blessing the death and the baptism by fire.

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