Time for words

The poem below is based on a reading of the works of the Saint Lucian poet, Derek Walcott (1930-2017), winner of the 1992 Nobel Prize in Literature.

Time for words

What is time
             in the context of universe
and what is verse
             the unified voice of poetry
but an opportunity
             to live love explicitly
under the star-speckled sky

how the river wearies
             slows
grows sluggish
             deposits silt on its bed
is swallowed within
             the immense depths
of the rapacious sea

Always time and the river
             and clusters of lovers
clinging to each other
             in the darkness
and in the light

and in the forest
             the heavy seas of foliage
tossing in the storm winds
             the air thick with pollen
and occasional blossom
              and sweeping skirts of rain
penetrating the soil
             as day bleeds into night

the petty pace that creeps
             and the poetry of it all
and the words that bind
             our lives together
so that we sail through time
             on a raft of significant sense
abrupt angels riding
             the turbulence of our dreams

and here and there in our wake
             the signatures of love 
and intermittent accounts of accurate distress
             when we find ourselves walled in
by the architectures of isolation

Time
             the slow drip drip of words
the slow exhalation of breath
             time that is our birth and our death

John Lyons


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