Sea Grapes

Sea Grapes

That sail which leans on light,
tired of islands,
a schooner beating up the Caribbean

for home, could be Odysseus,
home-bound on the Aegean;
that father and husband's

longing, under gnarled sour grapes, is
like the adulterer hearing Nausicaa's name
in every gull's outcry.

This brings nobody peace. The ancient war
between obsession and responsibility
will never finish and has been the same

for the sea-wanderer or the one on shore
now wriggling on his sandals to walk home,
since Troy sighed its last flame,

and the blind giant's boulder heaved the trough
from whose groundswell the great hexameters come
to the conclusions of exhausted surf.

The classics can console. But not enough.

from Selected Poems (Faber & Faber, 2007), copyright © Derek Walcott 2007, used by permission of the author

Sponsor this poem

Would you like to sponsor this poem? Find out how here.


Buy album £0.00


2A Far Cry from Africa

3Ruins of a Great House

4A Letter from Brooklyn

5The Castaway



8from Another Life

9Sea Grapes

10Saint Lucie

12Sea Canes

12from The Schooner Flight

13The Sea is History

14The Saddhu of Souva

15Forest of Europe

16The Season of Phantasmal Peace

17from Omeros

Books by Derek Walcott