Can you genuinely claim these, and do they reclaim you
from your possible margin of disdain, of occasional escape:
the dusk in the orange yards of the shacks, the waxen blue-
green of the breadfruit leaves, the first bulb in the kitchens—shape
and shadow so familiar, so worn, like the handles of brooms
in old women’s hands? The small river, the crammed shop
and the men outside it, and the stars that nail down their day.
In short, this affection for what is simple and known,
the direct faces, the deprived but resigned ones
whom you have exalted: are they utterly your own
as surely as your shadow is a thing of the sun’s?
The sound rushing past the car windows, not the sea but cane,
the night wind in your eyes like a woman’s hair, the fresh
fragrances, then the lights on the hills over the Port of Spain,
the nocturnal intimacies that stroke the flesh.
Again, the night grows its velvet, the frogs croak
behind fences, the dogs bark at ghosts, and certainties
settle in the sky, the stars that are no longer questions.
Yes, they reclaim you in a way you need not understand:
candles that never gutter and go out in the breeze,
or tears that glint on night’s face for every island.

Derek Walcott, “Parang”, in The Bounty