“something brighter than pity for the wingless ones”: Derek Walcott’s “The Season of Phantasmal Peace”

Photo by Rowan Heuval via Unsplash

Photo by Rowan Heuval via Unsplash

Recently I read Derek Walcott’s 1984 collection Midsummer (which I highly recommend–it’s heavy and heady with summer and heat, like a ripe peach). This week, when it’s finally starting to feel like autumn around here (I nominate 2015 for Boston’s strangest year of weather award), I’m reading his poem “The Season of Phantasmal Peace,” which you can find here. 

This poem is an interesting contrast with last week’s featured poem, which was “Light” by C. K. Williams.  It’s a pairing that makes me miss teaching; I’d love to discuss with students how the two poets approach light and darkness, expand on a small moment, use imagery and form. Ah well.

P.S. True story/shameless name-dropping: Derek Walcott is the only Nobel Prize winner I’ve met. I had the privilege of sitting in on one of his playwriting courses, and once he held the door to the English department open for me.

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One thought on ““something brighter than pity for the wingless ones”: Derek Walcott’s “The Season of Phantasmal Peace”

  1. That’s a lovely image, although down here in Texas it isn’t peaceful at all. Thousands of grackles gather along the electrical and telephone wires every morning, spacing themselves almost exactly six inches apart, and make lots and lots of noise. I guess they’re gathering to move farther south, although we have grackles here year-round. But maybe our winter grackles are from Boston!

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