So much rain, so much life like the swollen sky
of this black August. My sister, the sun,
broods in her yellow room and won’t come out.
Everything goes to hell; the mountains fume
like a kettle, rivers overrun; still,
she will not rise and turn off the rain.
She is in her room, fondling old things,
my poems, turning her album. Even if thunder falls
like a crash of plates from the sky,
she does not come out.
Don’t you know I love you but am hopeless
at fixing the rain ? But I am learning slowly
to love the dark days, the steaming hills,
the air with gossiping mosquitoes,
and to sip the medicine of bitterness,
so that when you emerge, my sister,
parting the beads of the rain,
with your forehead of flowers and eyes of forgiveness,
all with not be as it was, but it will be true
(you see they will not let me love
as I want), because, my sister, then
I would have learnt to love black days like bright ones,
The black rain, the white hills, when once
I loved only my happiness and you.
–Derek Walcott, January 23, 1930 – March 17, 2017
First Harvey, Now Irma. Sigh. Be safe out there, friends.
And because I love to see young talent recite poetry:
Youth poets Kyland Turner and Walter Finnie perform “Dark August” by classic poet Derek Walcott at the 2014 Get Lit Classic Slam Quarter Finals
3 thoughts on ““Dark August” by Derek Walcott”
I need to keep this one close at hand in part for the language – oh, my God, the words – but, also, to remind me to learn to like, or at least bear more easily those dark rainy days.
I love your selections.
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“Even if thunder falls like a crash of plates from the sky….” wonderful visual and aural word choices.
This one hits hard – so beautiful.
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