A City's Death By Fire Poem by Derek Walcott

A City's Death By Fire

Rating: 3.7


After that hot gospeller has levelled all but the churched sky,
I wrote the tale by tallow of a city's death by fire;
Under a candle's eye, that smoked in tears, I
Wanted to tell, in more than wax, of faiths that were snapped like wire.
All day I walked abroad among the rubbled tales,
Shocked at each wall that stood on the street like a liar;
Loud was the bird-rocked sky, and all the clouds were bales
Torn open by looting, and white, in spite of the fire.
By the smoking sea, where Christ walked, I asked, why
Should a man wax tears, when his wooden world fails?
In town, leaves were paper, but the hills were a flock of faiths;
To a boy who walked all day, each leaf was a green breath
Rebuilding a love I thought was dead as nails,
Blessing the death and the baptism by fire.

COMMENTS OF THE POEM
Sathyanarayana M V S 19 April 2009

Now I know why Walcott is called as the greatest living English poet. His poetry has a diffirent flavour, with rich imagery, surrealism and sweet words.

19 4 Reply
Stephen W 25 February 2014

Does anyone know what this poem is about? I haven't a clue.

7 5 Reply
Paul Reed 25 February 2014

I wrote the tale by tallow.. great rhythm and alliteration. It contrasts the ashes of the city where man overly concentrates his efforts and mentality, and sometimes forgets the gift of the green open spaces which were given for free.

7 4 Reply

A poem of deep sadness and loss that is impregnated with incredible imagery. Well done Walcott.

7 4 Reply
Kevin Patrick 25 February 2014

A surrealist dream depicted with Judeo Christian imagery, provides a breathtaking vista, of soulful yearning. A lovely read

8 3 Reply
Sylvia Frances Chan 23 January 2022

5 Stars full for this difficult to understand poem, but most deserveing as The Modern Poem Of The Day.

0 0 Reply
Sylvia Frances Chan 23 January 2022

The Nobel Prize winner oft writes about his own environment, his own town, about the great problem of Roman Catholics and the Baptism. Since he was also a good painter, this poem shows impressionism details. Excellently presented

0 0 Reply
Sylvia Frances Chan 23 January 2022

Few lines I quote here: In town, leaves were paper, but the hills were a flock of faiths; To a boy who walked all day, each leaf was a green breath 5 Stars full

0 0 Reply
Sylvia Frances Chan 23 January 2022

Brilliantly composed by the Nobel Prize winner poet. Few lines I quote here:

0 0 Reply
Frederick Cambridge 26 November 2021

The burning of Castries, the capital of St Lucia. Buildings can be rebuilt.

0 0 Reply
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Derek Walcott

Castries / St Lucia
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