0

6

 

2

4

 

1

0

 

 

P

O

E

T

R

Y

 

&

 

L

I

T

E

R

A

T

U

R

E

 

 

 

0

6

 

2

4

 

1

0

 

 

P

O

E

T

R

Y

 

&

 

L

I

T

E

R

A

T

U

R

E

 

 

0

6

 

2

4

 

1

0

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Photo: Paruula

   
       

White Egrets


 
 

are the color of waterfalls and of clouds....

   

 

I watch the huge trees tossing at the edge of the lawn

like a heaving sea without crests, the bamboos plunge

their necks like roped horses as yellow leaves, torn

from the whipping branches, turn to an avalanche;

all this before the rain scarily pours from the burst,

sodden canvas of the sky like a hopeless sail

gusting in sheets and hazing the hills completely

as if the whole valley were a hull outriding the gale

and the woods were not trees but waves of a running sea.

When light cracks and thunder groans as if cursed

and you are safe in a dark house deep in Santa

Cruz, with the lights out, the current suddenly gone,

you think: "Who'll house the shivering hawk, and the

impeccable egret and the cloud-colored heron,

and the parrots who panic at the false fire of dawn?"

 

We’ve been reading Derek Walcott’s beautiful slim book of stalking sentences, the lovely White Egrets.  The Nobel-Prize winner just turned 80, and this book is, as The New York Times says, "...an old man’s book, craving one more day of light and warmth.”  But doing so with such controlled delight in the English language (..my pen’s beak, plucking up wriggling insects/like nouns and gulping them, the nib reading/as it writes, shaking off angrily what its beak rejects./selection is what the egrets teach/on the wide open lawn, heads nodding as they read in purposeful silence, a language beyond speech) that one thinks this is what coming-of-age really means, not the lad’s modish sentences, but this accomplished complexity, this rhythmic assurance.  Seamus Heaney says, “Derek Walcott has moved with gradually deepening confidence to found his own poetic domain, independent of the tradition he inherited yet not altogether orphaned from it...The Walcott line is still sponsored by Shakespeare and the Bible, happy to surprise by fine excess.”

 

Words far lovelier than the images they evoke....

 

...slip into the streets

Like the bookmark in a nineteenth-century novel

 

In the sunlit bar the woman draws the blinds

They look like the slitted lids of a lioness

 

...a hawk on the wrist

of a branch

 

And the poet himself: The sequence is situated in the valley of Santa Cruz.... Very often egrets settle on the lawns, or take off.  They are beautiful in flocks or feeding by themselves.  The contrast their whiteness strikes between the lawns and the hills is naturally beautiful.  Perhaps there is something associated with this and age—the hair turning white—or with permanence.  But really, it’s more about finding a place of serenity that is irresistible.  In the hills of Santa Cruz and the landscape around my daughters’ houses there was some kind of a connection for me in arriving at this serenity (physical serenity anyway) and time.  Broken mists drift across the hills. The vegetation is brilliant—sometimes puta trees or flamboyants or immortelles....

 

Read: White Egrets, Derek Walcott

 

Tags: literature  books  poetry    

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Share this article on facebook:   

Share:                    

 

Forward this email to a friend   Permalink  

 

 

 

     

ARCHIVES ART LITERATURE ARCHITECTURE FILM MUSIC DANCE
PHOTOGRAPHY DESIGN FOOD THEATRE FASHION TRAVEL

 

Subscribe About Us Editorial Policy Privacy Policy Contact Us Unsubscribe  

Press Archives Search  

 

 

©2010 eCognoscente