Derek Walcott

Rookie (23 January 1930 / Castries / St Lucia)

Dark August - Poem by Derek Walcott

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.


Comments about Dark August by Derek Walcott

  • (2/14/2018 1:34:00 PM)


    There is a mistake in this. Seriously no one else noticed? (Report) Reply

    0 person liked.
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  • (1/20/2018 5:53:00 PM)


    It sounds like an incest in a way and its weirding me out. I wish he hadnt called sun his sister. (Report) Reply

  • (11/11/2017 6:10:00 PM)


    Beautiful (Report) Reply

  • Rajnish Manga (8/22/2017 10:18:00 PM)


    Exquisitely beautiful portrayal of nature in the August rains which brings so much deligt in life. Thanks.
    so that when you emerge, my sister,
    parting the beads of the rain,
    with your forehead of flowers and eyes of forgiveness,
    (Report) Reply

  • Bernard F. Asuncion (8/22/2017 5:08:00 PM)


    Such an interesting poem about dark days.... (Report) Reply

  • Subhas Chandra Chakra (8/22/2017 11:43:00 AM)


    The black rain, the white hills, when once
    I loved only my happiness and you
    Beautiful concept of black days..
    Thanks for the sharing.
    (Report) Reply

  • Edward Kofi Louis (8/22/2017 11:02:00 AM)


    The dark days! ! Thanks for sharing this poem with us. (Report) Reply

  • Anil Kumar Panda (8/22/2017 8:43:00 AM)


    This is beautiful poetry that flows in a majestic way with the sister- the sun.

    so that when you emerge, my sister,
    parting the beads of the rain,
    with your forehead of flowers and eyes of forgiveness, ..
    The sun comes out with flowers and forgiveness. Beautiful stanza. Very nice.
    (Report) Reply

  • Lantz Pierre (8/22/2017 2:01:00 AM)


    Powerfully emotional poem. It suprised me in the end how much I liked it. Personifying nature is usually such a facile trick to create false parallels between the complexity of human thought and emotion and the incomprehensible otherness of nature. But Walcott uses the device here to get at, to coax out, to try and shine a light on a brooding, difficult side of rejection and loss, anticipation and hope. He turns the personification of nature into a projection of his inner feelings with a delicacy that is heart-wrenching. The personification in fact remains a veil to protect him, his vulnerability, from being stated too unequivocally, too bald-faced. It allows the brooding sadness and hope to be expressed from behind a film of reflective, soothing balm or salve. The images are exquisite, palpable, breathing with the life of the man's expectations and perfectly framed in the cold objectivity of nature. Nature that supplies us home and hearth, health and happiness. Or takes it away without a thought of it affects us personally. (Report) Reply

  • Kumarmani Mahakul (8/22/2017 1:57:00 AM)


    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... great theme. Beautiful poem.
    (Report) Reply

  • Susan Williams (11/25/2015 1:18:00 PM)


    But I am learning slowly
    to love the dark days, the steaming hills,
    the air with gossiping mosquitoes, - - -This is pure writing genius at work here. The entire poem is full of perfect line after perfect line
    (Report) Reply

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Poem Submitted: Monday, April 12, 2010

Poem Edited: Saturday, November 19, 2011


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