a porch along the outside of a building
for what else is there
but books, books and the sea,
verandahs and the pages of the sea,
to write of the wind and the memory
of wind-whipped hair
in the sun, the colour of fire?
—from "Another Life"
a structure erected to commemorate persons or events
Where are your
monuments, your battles, martyrs?
Where is your tribal memory? Sirs,
in that grey vault. The sea. The sea
has locked them up. The sea is History.
—from "The Sea Is History"
go up or advance
By the smoking sea, where Christ walked, I asked, why
Should a man
wax tears, when his wooden world fails?
—from "A City's Death by Fire"
a journey usually by ship
Yet others who now watch my progress outward,
On a sea which is crueller than any word
Of love, may see in me the calm my
Braving new water in an antique hoax
—from "The Harbour"
a deep and relatively narrow body of water
That Albion too was once
A colony like ours, "part of the continent, piece of the main,"
Nook-shotten, rook o'erblown, deranged
channels and the vain expense
Of bitter faction.
—from "Ruins of a Great House"
an unhealthy and compulsive preoccupation with something
This brings nobody peace. The ancient war
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
—from "Sea Grapes"
deep blue like the color of a clear sky
One morning the Caribbean was cut up
by seven prime ministers who bought the sea in bolts—
one thousand miles of aquamarine with lace trimmings,
one million yards of lime-colored silk,
one mile of violet, leagues of
who sold it at a markup to the conglomerates
—from "The Star-Apple Kingdom"
a branch that flows into the main stream
From frozen Neva to the Hudson pours,
under the airport domes, the echoing stations,
tributary of emigrants whom exile
has made as classless as the common cold,
citizens of a language that is now yours
—from "Forest of Europe"
a regional dialect of a language
and O was the conch-shell's invocation, mer was
both mother and sea in our Antillean
os, a grey bone, and the white surf as it crashes
—from Book One of "Omeros"
something that passes by law to an heir of the owner
inheritance that elemental noise
of the windward, unbroken breakers, Ithaca's
or Africa's, all joining the ocean's voice,
because this is the Atlantic now, this great design
of the triangular trade.
—from Book Two of "Omeros"
have a desire for something or someone who is not present
Everything was forgotten. You also. I do not know.
The deaf sea has changed around every name that you gave
us; trees, men, we
yearn for a sound that is missing.
—from Book Three of "Omeros"
a small bird that is noted for its rapid flight
The sea-swift vanishes in rain,
and yet in its travelling all that the sea-swift does
it does in a circular pattern.
—from Book Four of "Omeros"
something curved in shape
arc of an empire was
flung over both colonies, wider than the seine
a fisherman hurls over a bay at sunrise,
but all colonies inherit their empire's sin,
and these, who broke free of the net, enmeshed a race.
—from Book Five of "Omeros"
join with a seam used in surgery
he scooped the bucket
and emptied the bilge with its leaves of manchineel,
thinking of the stitched,
sutured wound that Philoctete
was given by the sea, but how the sea could heal
the wound also.
—from Book Six of "Omeros"
a short passage added at the end of a literary work
let the deep hymn
of the Caribbean continue my
—from Book Seven of "Omeros"