Derek Walcott – Poetry


This is Fame: Sundays,
an emptiness
as in Balthus,

cobbled alleys,
sunlit, aureate,
a wall, a brown tower

at the end of a street,
a blue without bells,
like a dead canvas

set in its white
frame, and flowers:
gladioli, lame

gladioli, stone petals
in a vase. The choir’s
sky-high praise

turned off. A book
of prints that turns
by itself. The ticktock

of high heels on a sidewalk.
A crawling clock.
A craving for work.

“Fame” from THE ARKANSAS TESTAMENT by Derek Walcott.
Copyright © 1987 by Derek Walcott.
Used by permission of Farrar, Straus and Giroux, LLC.
All rights reserved.

CAUTION: Users are warned that this work is protected under copyright laws and downloading is strictly prohibited. The right to reproduce or transfer the work via any medium must be secured with Farrar, Straus and Giroux, LLC.

Poem selected by the Nobel Library of the Swedish Academy.

To cite this section
MLA style: Derek Walcott – Poetry. Nobel Media AB 2019. Wed. 26 Jun 2019. <>

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