søndag 27. november 2016
November Sun - a poem by Derek Walcott
November draws to its close, and this has been a very busy November for me. I've done a lot of travelling, with some travelling still to come, and I find myself shoulder-deep in writing, hoping that I will be able to deliver a chapter draft before I leave Denmark for Christmas.
As always when I find myself too busy to write anything reflective or lengthy, I revert to one of my great passions in life, namely poetry, and this is a strategy I very often employ in November which usually happens to be far more hectic than I tend to envision at the beginning of the month.
In tune with the season, I give you "November Sun", written by Derek Walcott and printed in his poetry collection Castaway from 1965. The following text is taken from the 1969 edition by Jonathan Cape Ltd.
In our treacherous
dry heat or muggy heat or rain
I'm measuring winter by this November sun's
diagonals shafting the window pane,
by my crouched shadow's
embryo on the morning study floor. Once
I wallowed in ignorance
of change, of windfall, snowfall,
skull-cracking heat, sea-threshing hurricane.
Now I'd prefer to know.
We age desiring
these icy intuitions
that seasons bring.
Look, they'll be pierced with knowledge
as with light! One boy, nine years in age
who vaults and tumbles, squirrelling
in his perpetual spring,
that ten-month, cautious totterer
I rarely let them in.
This is a sort of
where knowledge of our fatality is hidden.
I trace here, like a bent astronomer
the circle of the year,
nurturing its inner seasons'
mulch, drench, fire, ash.
In my son's
I am time-ridden,
the sedentary dial of his days.
Our shadows point one way,
even their brief shadows on the cropped morning grass.
I am pierced with this. I cannot look away.
Ah Christ, how cruelly the needles race!