Five Poems, Five Days: Part I

Also, unremarkable but pretty Instagram pics of my garden this spring, 'cause, you know, this blog needs some help in the visual department.















Day One:

 

XVI

by Derek Walcott

So what shall we do for the dead, to whose conch-bordered
tumuli our lifelong attraction is drawn
as to a magnetic empire, whose cities lie ordered
with streets and rational avenues, exact as the grid
of our vibrating metropolis? In our arrogance, we imagine
that they, too, share the immense, inaudible pulse
of the clock-shaped earth, slower than ours, maybe, but within
our dimension, our simple mathematical formulae.
Any peace so indifferent, where all our differences fuse,
is an insult to imagine; what use is any labor we
accept? They must find our prayers boring, for one prays
that they will keep missing us when they have no urge
to be ever-remembered, they cannot see what we hoard --
photograph, letter, keepsake, muttered or knitted homily --
as we change flags and houses. We still wish them to serve
us, expecting from death what we expect of our prayers --
that their hearts lift like ours with the surge
of the surf and the cupolas of the sunset, that the kingfisher
startles their darkness sometimes. But each one prefers
the silence that was his birthright, and the shore
where the others wait neither to end nor begin.

from Midsummer, published by Farrar, Straus, and Giroux

p.s. I cheated. I posted the poem above because I love the last eleven lines especially, but also because I felt like it was more accessible than THIS, which is the poem I REALLY love, for reasons I can't quite put into words, from Midsummer.


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