A Letter from Brooklyn, No. 3, 1964
A native of the Caribbean, Derek Walcott won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1992.
An old lady writes me in a spidery style,
Each character trembling, and I see a veined hand
Pellucid as paper, traveling on a skein
Of such frail thought its thread is often broken;
Or else the filament from which a phrase is hung
Dims to my sense, but caught, it shines like steel,
As touch a line, and the whole web will feel.
She describes my father, yet I forget her face
More easily than my father's yearly dying;
Reprinted from The Selected Poems of Derek Walcott, by permission of the publisher, Farrar, Straus and Company, Inc. Copyright © 1962, 1963, 1964 by Derek Walcott.