Derek Walcott

Rookie (23 January 1930 / Castries / St Lucia)

A Lesson for This Sunday - Poem by Derek Walcott

The growing idleness of summer grass
With its frail kites of furious butterflies
Requests the lemonade of simple praise
In scansion gentler than my hammock swings
And rituals no more upsetting than a
Black maid shaking linen as she sings
The plain notes of some Protestant hosanna—
Since I lie idling from the thought in things—

Or so they should, until I hear the cries
Of two small children hunting yellow wings,
Who break my Sabbath with the thought of sin.
Brother and sister, with a common pin,
Frowning like serious lepidopterists.
The little surgeon pierces the thin eyes.
Crouched on plump haunches, as a mantis prays
She shrieks to eviscerate its abdomen.
The lesson is the same. The maid removes
Both prodigies from their interest in science.
The girl, in lemon frock, begins to scream
As the maimed, teetering thing attempts its flight.
She is herself a thing of summery light,
Frail as a flower in this blue August air,
Not marked for some late grief that cannot speak.

The mind swings inward on itself in fear
Swayed towards nausea from each normal sign.
Heredity of cruelty everywhere,
And everywhere the frocks of summer torn,
The long look back to see where choice is born,
As summer grass sways to the scythe's design.


Comments about A Lesson for This Sunday by Derek Walcott

  • Dr Dillip K Swain (1/6/2018 7:41:00 PM)


    A great piece of poetry.. enjoyed reading it (Report) Reply

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  • Kumarmani Mahakul (10/18/2017 11:42:00 PM)


    Idleness of summer grass with its frail kites of furious butterflies brings nice imagery and summer grass sways to the scythe's design. The lesson is the same. The maid removes both prodigies from their interest in science. There is no need to fear. Every positive perspective gives learning. Excellently penned poem is shared...10 (Report) Reply

  • Edward Kofi Louis (10/18/2017 12:49:00 PM)


    Itself in fear! ! Thanks for sharing this poem with us. (Report) Reply

  • Subhas Chandra Chakra (10/18/2017 9:37:00 AM)


    And everywhere the frocks of summer torn,
    The long look back to see where choice is born,
    A beautiful poem co nicely crafted.
    (Report) Reply

  • Anil Kumar Panda (10/18/2017 2:35:00 AM)


    'The mind swings inward on itself in fear
    Swayed towards nausea from each normal sign.
    Heredity of cruelty everywhere,
    And everywhere the frocks of summer torn,
    The long look back to see where choice is born,
    As summer grass sways to the scythe's design. ' is very touching. Not a lazy sunday of course and with so many twists and turns. Beautiful poem.
    (Report) Reply

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Poem Submitted: Monday, February 15, 2016



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