Sir Derek Wal­cott: Dead But Im­mor­tal!

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL - By Rick Wayne

Un­til you’ve ac­com­plished the goal you’ve set your­self you have not done enough! That was Derek Wal­cott’s un­for­get­table im­pas­sioned warn­ing to me a year or so ago when some­thing I said left the im­pres­sion I might be among those who were ready to throw in the towel pre­cisely when his beloved He­len was most in need of her faith­ful sons and daugh­ters. “How can you call your­selves my friends,” he added, “when you are ready to desert this coun­try in its hour of need? You know what Saint Lu­cia means to me?”

I cer­tainly knew the an­swer. And the an­swer was ev­ery­thing! That fact was ev­i­dent in his oeu­vre, in his pub­lic ad­dresses, his lec­tures, the in­ter­views he gave the world’s most pres­ti­gious mag­a­zines and pe­ri­od­i­cals, in his de­ter­mined de­ci­sion to spend his last years in the land that gave him birth—if lit­tle else.

Derek Wal­cott passed away in the early hours of Fri­day morn­ing, at his Be­cune Park home, sur­rounded by fam­ily mem­bers who knew, as did Mae and I, the end was near. Sadly he did not live to see the theater so often promised by suc­ces­sive ad­min­is­tra­tions. Nor did he have the op­por­tu­nity to open a school li­brary in his name. But then Derek Wal­cott was never con­cerned with what his coun­try could do for him—only what he could do for He­len. There’ll be time enough to list his gifts, his count­less con­tri­bu­tions, whether or not ac­knowl­edged. Whether or not fully ap­pre­ci­ated. My heart is with you, Derek, my friend, men­tor, my in­spi­ra­tion. I must pause till it come back to me!


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