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Derek Walcott (1930–2017)

It has been a huge honour to have published Derek Walcott across four decades. He was a true presence who filled the literary landscape and did so with a delicacy of touch. We have lost a giant of literature.


This page is a cloud between whose fraying edges
a headland with mountains appears brokenly
then is hidden again until what emerges
from the now cloudless blue is the grooved sea
and the whole self-naming island, its ochre verges,
its shadow-plunged valleys and a coiled road
threading the fishing villages, the white, silent surges
of combers along the coast, where a line of gulls has arrowed
into the widening harbour of a town with no noise,
its streets growing closer like a print you can now read,
two cruise ships, schooners, a tug, ancestral canoes,
as a cloud slowly covers the page and it goes
white again and the book comes to a close.
— from White Egrets (2010)