A Lesson for This Sunday- Derek Walcott

For some strange reason, my latest posts have not been showing up. I’m not sure if it’s a problem with the app or just some sheer craziness but I have had to start composing on my laptop again which is a bit frustrating. Today’s post is another piece by Derek Walcott that I simply fell in love with this past weekend. In light of how hot it’s been in North Carolina recently, I felt that this was the perfect time to share this piece. The image seemed perfect to accompany the poem too. Even though it’s not quite summer yet. As always, I hope you enjoy.



The growing idleness of summer grass

With its frail kites of furious butterflies

Requests the lemonade of simple praise

In scansion gentler than my hammock swings

And rituals no more upsetting than a

Black maid shaking linen as she sings

The plain notes of some Protestant hosanna—

Since I lie idling from the thought in things—


Or so they should, until I hear the cries

Of two small children hunting yellow wings,

Who break my Sabbath with the thought of sin.

Brother and sister, with a common pin,

Frowning like serious lepidopterists.

The little surgeon pierces the thin eyes.

Crouched on plump haunches, as a mantis prays

She shrieks to eviscerate its abdomen.

The lesson is the same. The maid removes

Both prodigies from their interest in science.

The girl, in lemon frock, begins to scream

As the maimed, teetering thing attempts its flight.

She is herself a thing of summery light,

Frail as a flower in this blue August air,

Not marked for some late grief that cannot speak.


The mind swings inward on itself in fear

Swayed towards nausea from each normal sign.

Heredity of cruelty everywhere,

And everywhere the frocks of summer torn,

The long look back to see where choice is born,

As summer grass sways to the scythe’s design.


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