Derek Walcott

Rookie (23 January 1930 / Castries / St Lucia)

Codicil


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.

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003
Edited: Saturday, November 19, 2011

Do you like this poem?
1 person liked.
0 person did not like.

Form:


Read poems about / on: beach, change, ocean, moon, fire, death, sun, dog, fear

Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Comments about this poem (Codicil by Derek Walcott )

There is no comment submitted by members..

Famous Poems

  1. Phenomenal Woman
    Maya Angelou
  2. Still I Rise
    Maya Angelou
  3. The Road Not Taken
    Robert Frost
  4. If You Forget Me
    Pablo Neruda
  5. Dreams
    Langston Hughes
  6. Annabel Lee
    Edgar Allan Poe
  7. I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings
    Maya Angelou
  8. If
    Rudyard Kipling
  9. Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
    Robert Frost
  10. A Dream Within A Dream
    Edgar Allan Poe
Trending Poets
Trending Poems
  1. The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost
  2. Daffodils, William Wordsworth
  3. Still I Rise, Maya Angelou
  4. If You Forget Me, Pablo Neruda
  5. Phenomenal Woman, Maya Angelou
  6. If, Rudyard Kipling
  7. I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou
  8. Dreams, Langston Hughes
  9. A Dream Within A Dream, Edgar Allan Poe
  10. Do Not Stand At My Grave And Weep, Mary Elizabeth Frye
[Hata Bildir]