søndag 31. desember 2017
Star - a poem by Derek Walcott
I woke up this morning remebering the faint outlines of a dream whose only feature that stayed with me was an imagined reading of poetry by the late Derek Walcott, my favourite poet of any language. This dream left a yearning in me to hear his voice read poetry, and after looking for videos and recordings I came across this hauntingly beautiful reading of his poem Star, the first of his poems that I learned by heart.
Although I find this poem suitable for any time of the year, and for any year, there is something about its quietly sought-out yearning for normalcy, plainness, the ordinary, which resonates perhaps particularly strongly now at the tail end of 2017, a year that has seen so much reversal of precariously sustained progress in our constant quest for the peace of plain days that are denied the majority of us. This year, the poem also resonates particularly strongly with me because of my own trajectory that has taken me through a lot of work, great personal grief, exhaustion, and the conclusion of a three-year engagement as a PhD candidate. I look back at a year that has been filled with both sadness and personal accomplishments, and some treasured moments of intense happiness, and I long for a year that is less chaotic, that is more calm, and that does not leave me as tired and as confused as 2017.
If, in the light of things, you fade
real, yet wanly withdrawn
to our determined and appropriate
distance, like the moon left on
all night among the leaves, may
you invisibly delight this house;
O star, doubly compassionate, who came
too soon for twilight, too late
for dawn, may your pale flame
direct the worst in us
with the passion of
- From the poetry collection The Gulf, 1970