DEREK WALCOTT TURNS 85
ARGUABLY OUR NATION’S GREATEST PRODUCT, NOBEL LAUREATE DEREK WALCOTT THIS WEEK CELEBRATED ANOTHER BIRTHDAY. FOLLOWING: A POEM DEDICATED TO THE RENOWNED AUTHOR, POET AND ARTIST BY ONE OF HIS CELEBRATED ADMIRERS, SUDEEP SEN.
for Derek Walcott on his 85th birthday by Sudeep Sen
Part of the bannister-railing is absent in spite of its strong metal-rivet moorings.
Termite-eaten, consumed by the sea, I can see its woody skeleton float faraway
among the surf, its salt-scarred coat tossing and struggling to keep afloat
against the waves’ incessant lashing. There is music in its disappearance —
a buoyant symphony, note-strokes resurrecting life,
a new story — history restored by resilient fingers of a master artist.
Wheelchair and weak legs are inconsequential impediments —
his mind sparking with electric edge, whiplash wit at its most acerbic.
There is generosity for family, friends — those who are gone, and remain —
and thirty new poems, an intricate magic of ekphrastic love.
In the front garden facing the same sea with Pigeon Island on the horizon’s left,
lies a cluster of wind-eroded oval rocks — their shapes mimic a lost egret’s nest
or a ballerina’s curved arch — a stone-memorial for a close friend.
The driftwood is now out of sight — part of his house donated to the sea —
in gratitude the sea sings a raucous song,
folded cumulonimbus echo in synchronicity — a soundscape
absorbing his commandment:
At the end of this sentence, rain will begin.
Sudeep Sen (born 1964) is an award winning Indian English poet and editor living in London and New Delhi.