One Poem. One Planet.–Derek Walcott

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III

House of umbrage, house of fear,

house of multiplying air

 

House of memories that grow

like shadows out of Allan Poe

 

House where marriages go bust,

house of telephone and lust

 

House of caves, behind whose door

a wave is crouching with its roar

 

House of toothbrush, house of sin,

of branches scratching, “Let me in!”

 

House whose rooms echo with rain,

of wrinkled clouds with Onan’s stain

 

House that creaks, age fifty-seven,

wooden earth and plaster heaven

 

House of channelled CableVision

whose dragonned carpets sneer derision

 

Unlucky house that I uncurse

by rites of genuflecting verse

 

House I unhouse, house that can harden

as cold as stones in the lost garden

 

House where I look down the scorched street

but feel its ice ascend my feet

 

I do not live in you, I bear

my house inside me, everywhere

 

until your winters grow more kind

by the dancing firelight of mind

 

where knobs of brass do not exist,

whose doors dissolve with tenderness

 

House that lets in, at least, those fears

that are its guests, to sit on chairs

 

feasts on their human faces, and

takes pity simply by the hand

 

shows her her room, and feels the hum

of wood and brick becoming home.

 

–Derek Walcott, (Saint Lucia) from Omeros, Book Four, Chapter XXXIII

 

 

Learn more about One Poem. One Planet.

 

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