Derek Walcott, 1930- 2017
Of how many can it be said that he or she broke ground
and what does it signify? A metaphor
drawn from the ceremonies of construction
or is something more subtle and enduring intended
as in breaking bread during the vernal equinox?
I mourn the death of a poet whose smile bespoke
generations of gentleness, reaching back through slavery
to the shores of Africa. His smile wrinkled
with watching the waves merge with the sand
and the horizon meld with the sea.
The soft gray hair of his face
signified warmth and love, not sarcasm.
On the roof of a church in the village where I lived,
the American flag was stretched like a target
for aerial bombardment in order to indict
the colonialism of the Vietnam era.
Time is a bleached rag on the clothesline of history.
“That sail which leans on light,” six monosyllabic syllables register a world as percept and as gnomon in the tides of time.