Treasure Island

Derek Walcott

(23 January 1930 / Castries / St Lucia)

Quotations

  • ''Statistics justify and scholars seize
    The salients of colonial policy.
    What is that to the white child hacked in bed?
    To savages, expendable as Jews?''
    Derek Walcott (b. 1930), Carribbean poet. A Far Cry from Africa (l. 7-10). . . Collected Poems, 1948-1984 [Derek Walcott]. (1986) Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
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  • ''A wind is ruffling the tawny pelt
    Of Africa. Kikuyu, quick as flies,
    Batten upon the bloodstreams of the veldt.''
    Derek Walcott (b. 1930), Carribbean poet. A Far Cry from Africa (l. 1-3). . . Collected Poems, 1948-1984 [Derek Walcott]. (1986) Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
  • ''I who have cursed
    The drunken officer of British rule, how choose
    Between this Africa and the English tongue I love?
    Betray them both, or give back what they give?
    How can I face such slaughter and be cool?
    How can I turn from Africa and live?''
    Derek Walcott (b. 1930), Carribbean poet. A Far Cry from Africa (l. 28-33). . . Collected Poems, 1948-1984 [Derek Walcott]. (1986) Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
  • ''Again brutish necessity wipes its hands
    Upon the napkin of a dirty cause,''
    Derek Walcott (b. 1930), Carribbean poet. A Far Cry from Africa (l. 22-23). . . Collected Poems, 1948-1984 [Derek Walcott]. (1986) Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
  • ''Break a vase, and the love that reassembles the fragments is stronger than that love which took its symmetry for granted when it was whole.''
    Derek Walcott (b. 1930), West Indian poet, playwright. "Dissolving the Sigh of History," Guardian (London, Dec. 16, 1992).
  • ''I try to forget what happiness was,
    and when that don't work, I study the stars.''
    Derek Walcott (b. 1930), West Indian poet, playwright. "Flight," sect. 11, The Schooner, in The Star-Apple Kingdom (1980).
  • ''The English language is nobody's special property. It is the property of the imagination: it is the property of the language itself.''
    Derek Walcott (b. 1930), West Indian poet, playwright. Interview in Writers at Work, Eighth Series, ed. George Plimpton (1988).
  • ''I come from a place that likes grandeur; it likes large gestures; it is not inhibited by flourish; it is a rhetorical society; it is a society of physical performance; it is a society of style.''
    Derek Walcott (b. 1930), West Indian poet, playwright. Interview in Writers at Work, Eighth Series, ed. George Plimpton (1988).
  • ''Any serious attempt to try to do something worthwhile is ritualistic.''
    Derek Walcott (b. 1930), West Indian poet, playwright. Interview in Writers at Work, Eighth Series, ed. George Plimpton (1988).

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The Glory Trumpeter

Old Eddie's face, wrinkled with river lights,
Looked like a Mississippi man's. The eyes,
Derisive and avuncular at once,
Swivelling, fixed me. They'd seen
Too many wakes, too many cathouse nights.
The bony, idle fingers on the valves
Of his knee-cradled horn could tear
Through 'Georgia on My Mind' or 'Jesus Saves'
With the same fury of indifference,

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