17 September 2010

"Dark August," by Derek Walcott

So much rain, so much life like the swollen sky
of this black August. My sister, the sun,
broods in her yellow room and won't come out.

Everything goes to hell; the mountains fume
like a kettle, rivers overrun; still,
she will not rise and turn off the rain.

She is in her room, fondling old things,
my poems, turning her album. Even if thunder falls
like a crash of plates from the sky,

she does not come out.
Don't you know I love you but am hopeless
at fixing the rain? But I am learning slowly

to love the dark days, the steaming hills,
the air with gossiping mosquitoes,
and to sip the medicine of bitterness,

so that when you emerge, my sister,
parting the beads of the rain,
with your forehead of flowers and eyes of forgiveness,

all will not be as it was, but it will be true
(you see they will not let me love
as I want), because, my sister, then

I would have learnt to love black days like bright ones,
The black rain, the white hills, when once
I loved only my happiness and you
© Derek Walcott

Related Link: Why I trust Derek Walcott more than my Pastor

18 comments:

geoffreyphilp101@gmail.com said...

Walcott is the man!

Rethabile said...

It seems to be so. This is powerful.

get zapped said...

Absolutely stunning. I am deeply moved by the imagery. An emotive embrace of dark and light. Wish I could do the same with faith.

Rethabile said...

GZ,
I don't know what it is with this poem that makes it THE RIGHT POEM to be reading when I'm reading it.

Well, I do know: it's because it's written well by someone who writes well. I think. It's splendid.

January said...

Wow! I haven't read a lot of Walcott's work but I have read I've really enjoyed, like this one.

Rethabile said...

I'm going to get me some Walcott real soon. I need to carry these words with me at all times.

Professor Zero said...

That is an amazing poem.

Rethabile said...

Prof,
Yes indeed. I can't stop reading it.

Rustum Kozain said...

Rethabile, do you know from which volume of Walcott's this comes?

I am a big Walcott fan and read his stuff ALL the time. The Collected Poems you link to on your site is a very good starting point with Walcott, especially the poem "The Schooner Flight" from his late seventies volume The Star-Apple Kingdom.

Rethabile said...

Rustum,
I'm going to ask Geoffrey (see first comment), who will probably know. I got the poem off the Internet where someone had posted it. Through Geoffrey, I found Walcott. They use the same ink.

geoffreyphilp101@gmail.com said...

Rethabile,
"Dark August" is from Sea Grapes which has other classics such as "Love After Love."

Rethabile said...

"Love after Love," How many times have I heard people mention this poem? I've heard the following a few times: "I started writing poetry after reading Walcott's Love after Love ." I suppose I should get myself that book I'm presently showing on Poéfrika.

In August I'm going home, and I'm going to descend on local bookshops to see what I can harvest there. I'll take an empty suitcase with me.

Thank you for the info. God bless.

paisley said...

bravo!!! i am currently into my seventh summer,,, here in the land of winter rains and gray skies,, and i must say each and every year i learn to love the bleakness of winter more and more.. oh this struck such a chord with me!!!!

Rethabile said...

paisley,
Thanks for stopping by. It's a powerful, descriptive poem.

susan said...

Stunning. Can't think of any other word. I need to be fed and I've come to know you have what I crave. Thank you.

rallentanda said...

The success lies in the last stanza
Beauty can be found in the bleak!
Good poem.

Rethabile said...

ralletanda,
Great poem, yes. Thanks for the visit.

Anonymous said...

What exactly does this poem mean? I get the part about loving both dark and bright days, but is that all there is to it? Oh and what is the part about them not letting him love as he wants?