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Roman Outposts

Derek Walcott 1930 (Castries) – 2017 (Cap Estate)

for Pat Strachan

The thought-resembling moonlight at a cloud’s edge
spreads like the poetry of some Roman outpost
to every corner of the Silver Age.
The moon, capitol of that white empire, is lost
in the black mass. Now, the hot core is Washington,
where once it was Whitehall. Her light burns
all night in office like Cato’s ghost,
a concentration ringed with turbulence.
The wet dawn smells of seaweed. On this seawall
where there was a pier once, the concrete cracks
have multiplied like frontiers on a map
of Roman Europe. The same tides rise and fall,
froth, the moon’s lantern hung in the same place.
On the sea road skirting the old Navy base,
the archaeologist, with his backpack, crouching
to collect cowries, startles the carbon skeleton
impressed on earth like the gigantic fern
of Caterpillar tracks. By Roman roads
along the sea grapes, their leaves the size
of armor-plates, the stripped hangars rust
where once the bombers left for target practice;
breakers bring rumors of the nuclear fleet
to shells the washed-out blue of pirates’ eyes
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Submitted by ericp.27162 on March 04, 2021

53 sec read

Derek Walcott

A Saint Lucian poet and playwright. more…

All Derek Walcott poems | Derek Walcott Books

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    "Roman Outposts" Poetry.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 10 Apr. 2021. <https://www.poetry.com/poem/62790/roman-outposts>.

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