Bleecker Street, Summer

By Derek Walcott b. 1930 Derek Walcott
Summer for prose and lemons, for nakedness and languor,
for the eternal idleness of the imagined return,
for rare flutes and bare feet, and the August bedroom
of tangled sheets and the Sunday salt, ah violin!

When I press summer dusks together, it is
a month of street accordions and sprinklers
laying the dust, small shadows running from me.

It is music opening and closing, Italia mia, on Bleecker,
ciao, Antonio, and the water-cries of children
tearing the rose-coloured sky in streams of paper;
it is dusk in the nostrils and the smell of water
down littered streets that lead you to no water,
and gathering islands and lemons in the mind.

There is the Hudson, like the sea aflame.
I would undress you in the summer heat,
and laugh and dry your damp flesh if you came.


Derek Walcott, "Bleecker Street, Summer" from Collected Poems 1948-1984. Copyright © 1986 by Derek Walcott. Used by permission of Farrar, Straus & Giroux, LLC, www.fsgbooks.com. All rights reserved.

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Source: Collected Poems 1948-1984 (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1986)

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Poet Derek Walcott b. 1930

POET’S REGION Caribbean

Subjects Living, Coming of Age, Social Commentaries, Cities & Urban Life

Poetic Terms Free Verse

 Derek  Walcott

Biography

Born on the island of Saint Lucia, a former British colony in the West Indies, poet and playwright Derek Walcott was trained as a painter but turned to writing as a young man. He published his first poem in the local newspaper at the age of 14. Five years later, he borrowed $200 to print his first collection, 25 Poems, which he distributed on street corners. Walcott’s major breakthrough came with the collection In a Green Night: . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Coming of Age, Social Commentaries, Cities & Urban Life

POET’S REGION Caribbean

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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