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Poem by Derek Walcott for which he won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1992.

It is a poem is seven books and 64 chapters, a rerending of the Illiad set amonst fishermen of the Caribbean.

It is also a tale of the dispossessed and the odyssey out of Africa for those broought to the new world in slave ships.

' "O-meros" she laughed."That's what we call him in Greek,"
stroking the small bust with its boxer's broken nose,
and I thought of Seven Seas sitting near the reek

of drying fishnets, listening to the shallow's noise.
I said:"Homer and Virg are New England farmers, and the winged horse guards their gas-station, you're right."

I felt the foam head watching as I stroked an arm, as
cold as its marble, then the shoulders in winter light
in the studio attic, I said,"Omeros,"

and O was the conch-shell's invocation, mer, was
both mother and sea in our Antillen patois,
os a grey bone, and the white surf as it crashes '

Omeros is the Greek name for Homer, though Derek Walcott´s protagonists Achille, Hector and Philoctete are not epic warriors , but simple fishermen. Achille´s and Hector´s struggle over Helen, a beautiful black ( still alluding to the Illiad and The Odyssey ) is one current in Walcott´s epic, another is the interior struggle of an individual/ narrator in exile. It´s a beautiful poem/ epic, whatever you choose to call it. Walcott´s language and use of methapors are just wonderful and highly enjoyable once you got into the story. Just to give you an impression:
HELEN AT THE BEACH
“That was when I turned with him towards the village,
and saw, through the caging wires of the noon sky,
a beach with its padding panther; now the mirage

disolved to a woman with a madras head-tie,
but the head proud, although it was looking for work.
I felt like standing in homage to a beauty

That left, like a ship, widening eyes in its wake.
“Who the hell is that ?” a tourist near my table
asked a waitress. The waitress said, “She ? She too proud!”

As the carved lids of the unimaginable
Ebony mask unwrapped from its cotton-wool cloud,
The waitress sneered,”Helen”. And all the rest followed.”

The narrator ( presumably Walcott himself) returns home after his third failed marriage:

“The marriages dissolved like sand through the fingers,
Per mea culpa that had emptied all hope

From cupboards where some scent of happiness lingers
In camphor, in a lost hairpin crusted with soap;
The love I was good at seemed to have been only

The love of my craft and my nature; yes, I was kind,
But with such certitude it made others lonely,
And with such bent industry it had made me blind.”

“It is what Achille learnt under the dark ceiling
Of sea-grapes dripping with rain that puckered the sand:
That there is no error in love,of feeling

The wrong love for the wrong person.”

THE END
“An immense lilac emptiness
Settled the sea. He sniffed his name in one armpit.
He scraped dry scales off his hands. He liked the odours

Of the sea in him. Night was fanning its coalpot
From one catching star.The NO Pain lit its doors
In the village. Achille put the wedge of dolphin

That he´d saved for Helen in Hector´s rusty tin.
A full moon shone like a slice of raw onion.
And when he left the beach the sea was still going on.”

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