Poem by Derek Walcott
for which he won the
It is a poem is seven books and 64 chapters,
a rerending of the Illiad set amonst fishermen
of the Caribbean.
It is also a tale of the dispossessed and the
odyssey out of Africa for those broought to the
new world in slave ships.
' "O-meros" she laughed."That's what we call him in Greek,"
stroking the small bust with its boxer's broken nose,
and I thought of Seven Seas sitting near the reek
of drying fishnets, listening to the shallow's noise.
I said:"Homer and Virg are New England farmers,
and the winged horse guards their gas-station, you're right."
I felt the foam head watching as I stroked an arm, as
cold as its marble, then the shoulders in winter light
in the studio attic, I said,"Omeros,"
and O was the conch-shell's invocation, mer, was
both mother and sea in our Antillen patois,
os a grey bone, and the white surf as it crashes '