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R.T.S.L. (1917-1977) Analysis

Author: poem of Derek Walcott Type: poem Views: 14

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As for that other thing

which comes when the eyelid is glazed

and the wax gleam

from the unwrinkled forehead

asks no more questions

of the dry mouth,

whether they open the heart like a shirt

to release a rage of swallows,

whether the brain

is a library for worms,

on the instant of that knowledge

of the moment

when everything became so stiff,

so formal with ironical adieux,

organ and choir,

and I must borrow a black tie,

and at what moment in the oration

shall I break down and weep -

there was the startle of wings

breaking from the closing cage

of your body, your fist unclenching

these pigeons circling serenely

over the page,


as the parentheses lock like a gate

1917 to 1977,

the semicircles close to form a face,

a world, a wholeness,

an unbreakable O,

and something that once had a fearful name

walks from the thing that used to wear its name,

transparent, exact representative,

so that we can see through it

churches, cars, sunlight,

and the Boston Common,

not needing any book.

Anonymous submission.


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