Sea Grapes

Derek Walcott


That sail which leans on light,

tired of islands

a schooner beating up the Caribbean


for home, could be Odysseus,

home-bound on the Aegean;

that father and husband's


longing, under gnarled sour grapes, is

like the adulterer hearing Nausicaa's name

in every gull's outcry.


This brings nobody peace.  The ancient war

between obsession and responsibility

will never finish and has been the same


for the sear-wanderer or the one on shore

now wriggling on his sandals to walk home,

since Troy sighed its last flame,


and the blind giant's boulder heaved the trough

from whose ground-swell the great hexameters come

to the conclusions of exhausted surf.


The classics can console.  But not enough.


Main Location:

St Lucia