Everybody is dishevelled in Dublin,
situated in a comedy, the unwritten pages
of a novel-haired voodist, secret chronicles
of colonial embarrassment, fiction and Latin
sorrow, parenthetical pitches, hidden covert
till it shows in our face, the bleached regret,
wide-winged stanzas, memoirs gusting open
the American eye in us, watching the deep
Quixotic shake of a great invisible charge,
some secretly forlorn scene, obverse and flip-
side of reality, our fictional, confirming stories,
the sean-nós, old noise of the heart in nobody's
battle but its own, call it quits whenever odds-
on regret, a sorrow-grizzled heart, broke even
in the poem casting ordinary its spell, a white
steed, troops, the cavalry that won't make us
a statue, the unrequited charge of love, the old
mens' banners hung across a tidy lawn of talk,
jovial regrets, trailing us, secret law of Danann,
its original flaw causing us to veer into them,
dawns, returning your soul - in a poem.
I wrote through our 2011 Eliot winner, Walcott's poem, and created the above exercise in shuffling his words and letters in the poem, about the page to make a different verbal object. The write-thru form is a modernist, contemporary one in which the student can practice his or her basics, stick to the rules of a poetic form. In this case, the same words in a different order, with a handful of new ones from the rearranged letters, in a few words I chose to re-spell and change by re-ordering their letters, and several words one's imaginative mind invented, breaking the rules within acceptible limits, adhering to the decorum and etiquette general within free-verse and formal, at present; the choice, spur, literate meld of rare-spun thoughts via the act of a performer pretending in Letters.
There's graciousness in Walcott's poetry, perhaps because he has always been Mister to us, and for this we want to congratulate him; and on securing a rightful sweep across the board of poetry, taking what is rightfully due, and the duty a communiuty of human beings not part of the goading and public jealousy Walcott recieves as a person who took 'up the prosperity of barcraft', to bestow; making love in a poem appear to all who read Walcott's love poetry.
As good as it gets and on top of the world because he made it that way via the vehicle of reading and writing who he is, Mister Derek Walcott; not Lord or Sir, but king of the lyrical majors,
Lyric love poets know our trade, sing of what England is not made, Her Majesty's laureate imposters not making others go weak at the knees; Mister Walcott, we automatically think, has it written, alive:
'the noble brew in which is boiled the true
root of all knowledge
which bestows after duty
which is climbed after diligence
which poetic ecstasy sets in motion
which joy turns
which is revealed through sorrow;
it is lasting power undiminishing protection'
...To 'sing of the Cauldron of Motion', as the anonymous seventh century bard who wrote the untitled cauldron of poetry, translated by Liam Breatnach first, in 1979, 1300 years after the anonymous Amergin wrote it.
Generations of oral poets behind her or him, and 50 generations of poets ahead in print. The ultimate authority, Walcott would agree, I suspect. Not that it matters. Poetry is unique to us all and our eyes at the top watching out from a life-long apparatus, critical scaffold, standing firm on planks of our poetic reasoning; X = MC squared, a quantum underthrumb, hidden, unseen, the poetry within us, and a fair and balanced, square, this heart, not in sir but Mister.
I look forward to discovering this senior poet again, in print one can learn the respectful silence of a poet's mind from Walcott. I did buy his book of essays secondhand from Chapters, but lost it (along with several much sought after books on bardic wisdom), in the pub where I was celebrating the secondhand yield of exactly what it is on the must-read list of any student bard, whatever your grade, be it first year foclo or fifth decade ollamh.
I was looking forward to wallowing in Walcott's eloquence. A small dip into it on the first floor of Chapters large and comprehensive Parnell Street bookmart, lit one's mind as only his fellow, Irish, poet had until that point, because I immediately detected what all the fuss surrounding his poetry is about; by reading his prose, finding why he is the widely respected poet: because he knows his onions and speaks from the great streams:
'craftsman of histories
looking after binding principles
distinguishing the intricacies of language
moving toward music
propagation of good wisdom
His cauldron of motion, experience, life spun and distilled via us into poems: 'it bestows good wisdom and nobility and honor after turning.
'The Cauldron of Motion bestows,
extends, is extended
nourishes, is nourished
magnifies, is magnified
invokes, is invoked
sings, is sung
preserves, is preserved
arranges, is arranged
supports, is supported.
Good is the well of measuring
good is the dwelling of speech
good is the confluence of power which builds up strength.
It is greater than every domain
it is better than every inheritance,
it brings one to knowledge
adventuring away from ignorance.'