A Sea Change


By Derek Walcott

A Sea Change (#22)

May my enemy be assuaged by these waves
because they are beautiful even to his evil,
may the drizzle be a benediction to his heart
even as it is to mine; they say here that the devil
is beating his wife when the sun shines through the wires
of fine, fine rain. It is not my heart that forgives
my enemy his obscene material desires
but the flare of a leaf, the dart of a mottled dove,
the processional surplices of breakers entering the cove
as penitents enter the dome to the lace of an altar;
beauty so shaping neither condemns nor saves
like the tenets of my enemy’s church, the basilicas
of tumbling cherubs and agonized saints
and riots of purpureal cloud; though I have cause
I will share the world’s beauty with my enemies
even though their greed destroys the innocence
of my Adamic island. My enemy is a serpent
as much as he is in a fresco, and he in all his
scales and venom and glittering head is
part of the island’s beauty; he need not repent.

Source: Haiti Chery | Derek Walcott is a writer and painter from the Caribbean island of St. Lucia.  He was born in 1930. He received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1992. This is his poem #22 under “A Sea Change” in his latest volume of poetry, titled White Egrets, published by: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (March 16, 2010). DC

Dady Chery

About Dady Chery

Dr. Dady Chery is a Haitian-born journalist, playwright, essayist, and poet. She is the author of "We Have Dared to Be Free: Haiti's Struggle Against Occupation." Her broad interests encompass science, culture, and human rights. She writes extensively about Haiti and world issues such as climate change and social justice. Her many contributions to Haitian news include the first proposal that Haiti’s cholera had been imported by the UN, and the first story describing Haiti’s mineral wealth.

Leave a Reply