A Far Cry From Africa
A wind is ruffling the tawny pelt
Of Africa, Kikuyu, quick as flies,
Batten upon the bloodstreams of the veldt.
Corpses are scattered through a paradise.
Only the worm, colonel of carrion, cries:
'Waste no compassion on these separate dead!'
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?
Threshed out by beaters, the long rushes break
In a white dust of ibises whose cries
Have wheeled since civilizations dawn
>From the parched river or beast-teeming plain.
The violence of beast on beast is read
As natural law, but upright man
Seeks his divinity by inflicting pain.
Delirious as these worried beasts, his wars
Dance to the tightened carcass of a drum,
While he calls courage still that native dread
Of the white peace contracted by the dead.
Again brutish necessity wipes its hands
Upon the napkin of a dirty cause, again
A waste of our compassion, as with Spain,
The gorilla wrestles with the superman.
I who am poisoned with the blood of both,
Where shall I turn, divided to the vein?
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's Other Poems
Read this poem in other languages
This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.
Comments about this poem (A Far Cry From Africa by Derek Walcott )
- Giving Complete Peace, RoseAnn V. Shawiak
- Satisfied With Life, RoseAnn V. Shawiak
- Know It All, Elia Michael
- Haiku# Heart-1, DEEPAK KUMAR PATTANAYAK
- Haiku# Darkness-1, DEEPAK KUMAR PATTANAYAK
- Living In Every Moment, RoseAnn V. Shawiak
- Let it be just you, DEEPAK KUMAR PATTANAYAK
- The Long Wait, David Lewis Paget
- Abnormality, Sandra Feldman
- horses of the sea, Stan Petrovich
Poem of the Day
- Still I Rise, Maya Angelou
- The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost
- Invictus, William Ernest Henley
- Phenomenal Woman, Maya Angelou
- Daffodils, William Wordsworth
- Fire and Ice, Robert Frost
- If, Rudyard Kipling
- If You Forget Me, Pablo Neruda
- Dreams, Langston Hughes
- I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou
(March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963)
(4 April 1928 - 28 May 2014)
(12 July 1904 – 23 September 1973)
- Heather Burns
(1 February 1902 – 22 May 1967)
(10 December 1830 – 15 May 1886)
Edgar Allan Poe
(19 January 1809 - 7 October 1849)
(28 November 1757 – 12 August 1827)
(31 May 1819 - 26 March 1892)
(13 September 1916 – 23 November 1990)