Derek Walcott Quotes
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For every poet it is always morning in the world; history a forgotten, insomniac night. The fate of poetry is to fall in love with the world in spite of history.
Break a vase, and the love that reassembles the fragments is stronger than that love which took its symmetry for granted when it was whole.
Summer for prose and lemons, for nakedness and languor.
Good science and good art are always about a condition of awe. I don't think there is any other function for the poet or the scientist in the human tribe but the astonishment of the soul.
The English language is nobody's special property. It is the property of the imagination: it is the property of the language itself.
The sigh of History rises over ruins, not over landscapes, and in the Antilles there are few ruins to sigh over, apart from the ruins of sugar estates and abandoned forts.
The future happens. No matter how much we scream.
Memory that yearns to join the centre, a limb remembering the body from which it has been severed, like those bamboo thighs of the god.
If you know what you are going to write when you're writing a poem, it's going to be average.
The time will come when, with elation, you will greet yourself arriving at your own door, in your own mirror, and each will smile at the other’s welcome.
I come from a place that likes grandeur; it likes large gestures; it is not inhibited by flourish; it is a rhetorical society; it is a society of physical performance; it is a society of style.
I read; I travel; I become
Visual surprise is natural in the Caribbean; it comes with the landscape, and faced with its beauty, the sigh of History dissolves.
I have never separated the writing of poetry from prayer. I have grown up believing it is a vocation, a religious vocation.
Time is the metre, memory the only plot.
Peel your own image from the mirror. Sit. Feast on your life.
A culture, we all know, is made by its cities.
There's always more to see.
What are men? Children who doubt.
The truest writers are those who see language not as a linguistic process but as a living element.
The mirror is believed the way a poem is believed. It's believed because it's there.
When you get a class reciting some great poems, it'll tear your heart out.
Any serious attempt to try to do something worthwhile is ritualistic.
To change your language you must change your life.
Slowly my body grows a single sound, slowly I become a bell, an oval, disembodied vowel, I grow, an owl, an aureole, white fire poesia "Metamorfosi, I. Luna
The thing that is believed is a reality.
The personal vocabulary, the individual melody whose metre is one's biography, joins in that sound, with any luck, and the body moves like a walking, a waking island.
I try to forget what happiness was, and when that don't work, I study the stars.
The poem is itself a mirror.
The word and the shadow of the word / makes a thing both itself and something else / till we are metaphors and not ourselves . . .
We make too much of that long groan which underlines the past.
The voice does go up in a poem. It is an address, even if it is to oneself.
The English language is nobody's special property.
Art is History's nostalgia, it prefers a thatched roof to a concrete factory, and the huge church above a bleached village.
Damn wind shift sudden as a woman mind.
How can I turn from Africa and live?
I look in the mirror. There's me. What's in the mirror is not real. So am I unreal?
We read, we travel, we become.
We look and see what we see in a mirror, and we believe it. That's important, the question of belief. The question is: Should we believe what we see in a mirror?
You can't write drunk.
The classics can console. But not enough.
In Eden who sleeps happiest? The serpent.
She's a rare vase, out of a cat's reach, on its shelf.
I too saw the wooden horse blocking the stars.
Americans are not brought up with meter. They're not brought up with poetry. If you try to get them to recite, they're too embarrassed.
When poems are no good they don't make any sense.
The first thing we have to do is get rid of the pentameter. To ditch the pentameter.
The truth is that the poems are ecstatic.
Who cares about a kid from the Midwest writing pentameter? It's stupid.
All of Victorian verse is pentameter.