Derek Walcott

Derek Walcott Poems

Derek Walcott was a Saint Lucian poet. He also worked as a playwright and won the 1992 Nobel Prize in Literature. His most important work is the epic poem, ‘Omeros,’ published in 1990. He was granted a MacArthur “genius” grant and the Queen’s Medal for Poetry. 

Oddjob, a Bull Terrier

by Derek Walcott

‘Oddjob, a Bull Terrier’ by Derek Walcott is a thoughtful, emotional poem about loss and how unbearable the death of a pet can be. 

A wonderful, emotional poem and one of Walcott's best.

You prepare for one sorrow,
but another comes.
It is not like the weather,
you cannot brace yourself,
the unreadiness is all.

The Wind in the Dooryard

by Derek Walcott

‘The Wind in the Dooryard’ by Derek Walcott was written after the death of Eric Roach, a well-respected poet who died by suicide in 1974. This poem is dedicated to his life and work. 

'The Wind in the Dooryard' is a wonderful Walcott poem and one of his best. It is a great representation of the themes and images that Walcott often included in his work and is rich with skillful allusions to Walcott's contemporary, Eric Roach.

I didn't want this poem to come from the torn mouth, I didn't want this poem to come

Ruins of a Great House

by Derek Walcott

Derek Walcott’s ‘Ruins of a Great House’ combines themes of historical and cultural abuse with factual reasoning and literary references to bring together a massive emotional conflict in the Speaker’s perception.

This is one of Derek Walcott's best poems. 'Ruins of a Great House' discusses dark and intense themes in a very strategic way. Walcott uses emotions, historical facts, and literary references to create a coherent ethical argument inside the Speaker's mind. The argument is all about the brutality of colonialism, which at first seems simple. Still, as history is brought to the tale, the emotions of the Speaker get progressively more conflicted.

Stones only, the disjecta membra of this Great House,

Whose moth-like girls are mixed with candledust,

Remain to file the lizard’s dragonish claws.


by Derek Walcott

‘Lampfall’ by Derek Walcott dives deep into an investigation of thought, dreaming, community and connection while also implying that nature and thought are more meaningful than development.

'Lampfall' by Derek Walcott is one of his best-celebrated poems, as it touches on many of Walcott's typical themes with absolute skill. The poem's complex layers reveal many things about nature, inspiration, community, religion, and urbanization, taking the listener to Saint Lucia to enjoy a view of the ocean.

Closest at lampfall

Like children, like the moth-flame metaphor,

The Coleman's humming jet at the sea's edge

The Flock

by Derek Walcott

‘The Flock’ is a poem that meditates on the cyclical nature of time and the passage of the seasons. Through vivid imagery and a somber tone, the poet reflects on the inevitability of winter’s end, the unchanging nature of the world, and his own place within this cycle of time.

Derek Walcott was a highly regarded poet and playwright whose 'The Flock' is a powerful example of his verse. The poem engages with themes of nature and change while also reminding readers of the integral parts of life that stay the same. It may not be his best-known piece of poetry, but it does demonstrate what readers love about his writing style.

The grip of winter tightening, its thinned

volleys of blue-wing teal and mallard fly

from the longbows of reeds bent by the wind,

arrows of yearning for our different sky.

Explore more poems from Derek Walcott

Parades, Parades

by Derek Walcott

‘Parades, Parades’ by Derek Walcott is an interesting, allusion-filled poem that discusses Saint Lucia after the end of British colonial rule. 

A wonderful Walcott poem that's representative of his verse as a whole.

There's the wide desert, but no one marches

except in the pads of old caravans,

there is the ocean, but the keels incise

the precise, old parallels,

The Almond Trees

by Derek Walcott

‘The Almond Trees’ By Derek Walcott is a confessional poem about identity, history, and cultural identity.

'The Almond Trees' is a classic Derek Walcott poem. It's written as a confessional poem, but with a twist, as the confessional does not stick to just one person's experiences. Still, an entire culture's history as they survived colonization and slavery, carrying with them as many traditions as possible and making new ones until their culture many years later has shifted from the brutal violence it was forced to survive.

There's nothing here

this early;

cold sand

cold churning ocean, the Atlantic,

no visible history,

The Virgins

by Derek Walcott

Derek Walcott’s poem ‘The Virgins’ gives a holistic view of the life, economy, and culture of one of the Virgin Islands of the US, Saint Croix.

A critical and cynical poem on the present state of the Virgin Islands of the United States deals with the free-market economy and its effects in Frederiksted, a Caribbean island town.

Down the dead streets of sun-stoned Frederiksted,

the first free port to die for tourism,

strolling at funeral pace, I am reminded

of life not lost to the American dream;


Forest of Europe

by Derek Walcott

‘Forest of Europe’ dissects the burden writers have, and their duty to the public to write the truth.

Derek Walcott's 'Forest in Europe' is different from some of his other works as many focus on identity and culture, whereas this poem dissects the life of a poet and writer. Nevertheless, the poem is well-written and has the classic Walcott indication of complex ideas.

The last leaves fell like notes from a piano

and left their ovals echoing in the ear;

with gawky music stands, the winter forest

A Far Cry from Africa

by Derek Walcott

‘A Far Cry from Africa’ is a poem based around the struggles in Africa. One would presume it is at least partially autobiographical.

Adam’s Song

by Derek Walcott

‘Adam’s Song’ by Derek Walcott describes Eve’s sin in the Garden of Eden and Adam’s sorrowful song of regret. 

Dark August

by Derek Walcott

‘Dark August’ by Derek Walcott describes the dark life a speaker is forced to live when someone he depends on abandons him. 


by Derek Walcott

Derek Walcott’s poem ‘Ebb’ is about a car journey by the shore and comments on aging, industrialization, and the past.

Goats and Monkeys

by Derek Walcott

Here’s an analysis of “Goats and Monkeys” by Derek Walcott. Caribbean Literature covers issues like racism, colonization, and dislocation. The

Homecoming: Anse La Raye

by Derek Walcott

‘Homecoming: Anse La Raye’ by Derek Walcott is a complex and interesting poem about when a homecoming doesn’t feel like coming home. It is rich with allusions and connections to Walcott’s real-life experience.

Love After Love

by Derek Walcott

‘Love After Love’ by Derek Walcott is a poem, that is presented in the form of a person offering advice to someone who is distressed.


by Derek Walcott

Here is an analysis of Names by Derek Walcott. Born in 1930 in Barbados, Edward Brathwaite is one of the most outstanding

Nearing Forty

by Derek Walcott

‘Nearing Forty’ by Derek Walcott is a lyric that is addressed to John Figueroa, a Jamaican poet. The poem is

Sea Grapes

by Derek Walcott

‘Sea Grapes’ by Derek Walcott is a deep and interesting poem. In it, Walcott uses numerous allusions to convey a message about choosing between lust and responsibility. 

The Sea is History

by Derek Walcott

First appeared in “The Star Apple Kingdom”, the poem ‘The Sea is History’ is part of Walcott’s autobiographical collection, Another


by Derek Walcott

‘XIV’ appears in Derek Walcott’s collection of poems “Midsummer”. This poem features the glorious days of Walcott’s childhood, especially how they gathered around his mother to hear stories at the stroke of eve.

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