Derek Walcott

Sour Grapes

That sail in cloudless light

which tires of islands,

a schooner beating up the Caribbean

 

for home, could be Odysseus

home-bound through the Aegean,

just as that husband’s

 

sorrow under the sea-grapes, repeats

the adulterer’s hearing Nausicaa’s name

in every gull’s outcry.

 

But whom does this bring peace? The classic war

between a passion and responsibility

is never finished, and has been the same

 

to the sea-wanderer and the one on shore,

now wriggling on his sandals to walk home,

since Troy sighed its last flame,

 

and the blind giant’s boulder heaved the trough

from which The Odyssey’s hexameters come

to finish up as Caribbean surf.

 

The classics can console. But not enough.

Derek Walcott

 Derek  Walcott Derek Walcott was born in St. Lucia in 1930.  His Collected Poems: 1948 -- 1984 was published in 1986, and his subsequent works include, Omeros (1990), The Bounty (1997), Tiepolo's Hound (2000), The Prodigal (2004), and Selected Poems (2007).  He received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1992.
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