And was the holy Lamb of God,
On Englands pleasant pastures seen!
- And did those feet, William Blake

søndag 27. mai 2018

The Dormitory - a poem by Derek Walcott

I have imbibed the poetry of Derek Walcott since my first year at university and I have read and re-read so many of his poems that they are embedded in me. But even after ten years of enthusiastic reading, there are still poems I haven't read, either because they are difficult to come by or because I am deliberately waiting so that I will still have things by him to read. Today I encountered one of Walcott's earliest poems, published in a collection titled Poems from 1957 and now out of print. The poem in question can be found in Glyn Maxwell's selection of Walcott's poetry, published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux as The Poetry of Derek Walcott 1948-2013.

The Dormitory

Time is the guide that brings all to a crux,
Who hans his map will move
Out of the mere geology of books,
To see his valley's palm wrinkled with loves.

These sleep like islands, and I watch sleep lick
Their arms' flung promontories, remove
With individual erasure all their love
Of muscle. Now towards the sea there, I wlook

Where rippling signatures of water break
Over the sighing dormitories of
The drowned whom soft winds move,
Here these inquiet mouths like rivers speak.

Or from these boys, who in the uncertain luck
Of sleep, except to live,
The breath curls from their separated lips like
Mists of time that over valleys grieve.

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