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As the Bamboo Fife's Grew Shriller

Early morning will slip out the door

any moment now.

She's done her chores.

washed the sea grapes,

stabled the restless palms,

still tossing green-yellow manes.

She's shaken a day's coconuts from their nests.

Still her movements, once fluid

day after day,

month after month, now grow sluggish.

When soon she's old

and understands solitude

to be a light rain,

when she's brittle boned

and stooped,

won't the salt beads and seaweed frill

of that translucent shawl look

as if she straining to

snatch back youth?

One of these dawns,

when a Picasso moon, with a smile

straight on and wry to the side as well,

refuses to budge,

and when stars are starfish sucked into the sky,

she'll wander away barefoot,

and forget.

(Walcott, Omeros, Book Six, III, 25)


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