Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Fragments of Epic Memory

Here in Kauai, I am reading about another set of islands. The Antilles is a very small book – Derek Walcott’s Nobel Lecture. Now that I don’t go for work, I am doing what I promised myself I would do – catch up on world literature. The book is tiny, but it is a way to gain insight into the mind and preoccupations of a Nobel winner – his prose is at times angry as well as self-defensive about the place his beloved Caribbean occupies in the minds of the rest of the world. I was reminded of another book, Jamaica Kincaid’s A Small Place – powerful anger against what the tourists have done to the islands.

In Walcott’s lecture, I found the following sentence:
The traveler cannot love, since love is stasis and travel is motion.

Having been on constant move for the past 4 months, I need to think more about that sentence.


  1. The following poem of Walcott, I read first in VS Naipauls book. The poem made a big impression on Naipaul, if I remember right. I loved it too. Especially the still night imagery.


    The Harbour

    The fishermen rowing homeward in the dusk,
    Do not consider the stillness through which they move,
    So I, since feelings drown should no more ask
    For the safe twilight which your calm hands gave.
    And the night, urger of old lies
    Winked at by stars that sentry the humped hills,
    Should hear no secret faring-forth; time knows
    That bitter and sly sea, and love raises walls.
    Yet others who now watch my progress outward
    On a sea which is crueler than any word
    Of love, may see in me the calm my passage makes,
    Braving new water in an antique hoax;
    And the secure from thinking may climb safe to liners
    Hearing small rumours of paddlers drowned near stars.

  2. Also, congratulation on Anand winning the WC.

  3. Thanks, regarding Anand winning the WC. Thanks to my being 'retired' I was able to follow many games live on the 'net.
    Chess games these days are so intricate that amateurs have no hope of understanding unless there are GM's commenting on the moves and options for us.