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Codicil Analysis

Author: poem of Derek Walcott Type: poem Views: 15

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Schizophrenic, wrenched by two styles,

one a hack's hired prose, I earn

me exile. I trudge this sickle, moonlit beach for miles,

tan, burn

to slough off

this live of ocean that's self-love.

To change your language you must change your life.

I cannot right old wrongs.

Waves tire of horizon and return.

Gulls screech with rusty tongues

Above the beached, rotting pirogues,

they were a venomous beaked cloud at Charlotteville.

One I thought love of country was enough,

now, even if I chose, there is no room at the trough.

I watch the best minds rot like dogs

for scraps of flavour.

I am nearing middle

age, burnt skin

peels from my hand like paper, onion-thin,

like Peer Gynt's riddle.

At heart there is nothing, not the dread

of death. I know to many dead.

They're all familiar, all in character,

even how they died. On fire,

the flesh no longer fears that furnace mouth

of earth,

that kiln or ashpit of the sun,

nor this clouding, unclouding sickle moon

withering this beach again like a blank page.

All its indifference is a different rage.

Anonymous submission.


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