One Poem. One Planet.–Derek Walcott



House of umbrage, house of fear,

house of multiplying air


House of memories that grow

like shadows out of Allan Poe


House where marriages go bust,

house of telephone and lust


House of caves, behind whose door

a wave is crouching with its roar


House of toothbrush, house of sin,

of branches scratching, “Let me in!”


House whose rooms echo with rain,

of wrinkled clouds with Onan’s stain


House that creaks, age fifty-seven,

wooden earth and plaster heaven


House of channelled CableVision

whose dragonned carpets sneer derision


Unlucky house that I uncurse

by rites of genuflecting verse


House I unhouse, house that can harden

as cold as stones in the lost garden


House where I look down the scorched street

but feel its ice ascend my feet


I do not live in you, I bear

my house inside me, everywhere


until your winters grow more kind

by the dancing firelight of mind


where knobs of brass do not exist,

whose doors dissolve with tenderness


House that lets in, at least, those fears

that are its guests, to sit on chairs


feasts on their human faces, and

takes pity simply by the hand


shows her her room, and feels the hum

of wood and brick becoming home.


–Derek Walcott, (Saint Lucia) from Omeros, Book Four, Chapter XXXIII



Learn more about One Poem. One Planet.



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