Opal Shards

“Break a vase, and the love that reassembles the fragments is stronger than that love which took its symmetry for granted when it was whole. The glue that fits the pieces is the sealing of its original shape. It is such a love that reassembles our African fragments, the cracked heirlooms whose restoration shows its white scars. This gathering of broken pieces is the care and pain of the Antilles, and if the pieces are disparate, ill-fitting, they contain more pain than their original sculpture, those icons and sacred vessels taken for granted in their ancestral places. It is this restoration of our shattered histories, our shards of vocabulary, our archipelago becoming a synonym for pieces broken off from the original continent…This is the basis of the Antillean experience, this shipwreck of fragments, these echoes, these shards of a huge tribal vocabulary, these partially remembered customs, and they are not decayed but strong. They survived the Middle Passage…” Derek Walcott

Derek Walcott, born in St. Lucia in 1930, is a poet, writer and artist who was in the vanguard of the post-colonial school of English language writing.
His work, which developed independently of the schools of magic realism emerging in both South America and Europe at around the time of his birth, is intensely related to the symbolism of myth and its relationship to culture. Walcott called himself “a mulatto of style ” and he explores his feelings of conflict and isolation, caught between European culture and the black folk culture of his native Caribbean.
“I who am poisoned with the blood of both,
Where shall I turn, divided to the vein?
I who have cursed
The drunken officer of British rule, how choose
Between this Africa and the English tongue I love?”
(from A Far Cry from Africa, 1962)
Derek Walcott won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1992: “for a poetic oeuvre of great luminosity, sustained by a historical vision, the outcome of a multicultural commitment”
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