Those five or six young guys
lunched on the stoop
that oven-hot summer night
whistled me over. Nice
and friendly. So, I stop.
MacDougal or Christopher
Street in chains of light.
A summer festival. Or some
saint's. I wasn't too far from
home, but not too bright
for a nigger, and not too dark.
I figured we were all
one, wop, nigger, jew,
besides, this wasn't Central Park.
I'm coming on too strong? You figure
right! They beat this yellow nigger
black and blue.
Yeah. During all this, scared
on case one used a knife,
I hung my olive-green, just-bought
sports coat on a fire plug.
I did nothing. They fought
each other, really. Life
gives them a few kcks,
that's all. The spades, the spicks.
My face smashed in, my bloddy mug
pouring, my olive-branch jacket saved
from cuts and tears,
I crawled four flights upstairs.
Sprawled in the gutter, I
remember a few watchers waved
loudly, and one kid's mother shouting
like 'Jackie' or 'Terry,'
'now that's enough!'
It's nothing really.
They don't get enough love.
You know they wouldn't kill
you. Just playing rough,
like young Americans will.
Still it taught me somthing
about love. If it's so tough,
Derek Walcott's Other Poems
Read this poem in other languages
This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.
Comments about this poem (Blues by Derek Walcott )
(March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963)
(4 April 1928 - 28 May 2014)
(1 February 1902 – 22 May 1967)
(10 December 1830 – 15 May 1886)
Edgar Allan Poe
(19 January 1809 - 7 October 1849)
(12 July 1904 – 23 September 1973)
(16 August 1920 – 9 March 1994)
William Butler Yeats
(13 June 1865 – 28 January 1939)
(27 October 1914 – 9 November 1953)
(31 May 1819 - 26 March 1892)
- Still I Rise, Maya Angelou
- The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost
- Annabel Lee, Edgar Allan Poe
- I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou
- Fire and Ice, Robert Frost
- If You Forget Me, Pablo Neruda
- Dreams, Langston Hughes
- As I Grew Older, Langston Hughes
- If, Rudyard Kipling
- Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening, Robert Frost