25 December 2012
The Bounty- Thanksgiving
Derek Walcott, in his ‘Thanksgiving’ poem manages to touch the audience immensely and achieves different moods at different intervals as he progresses through the poem. He awes us with his picturesque imagery of a ‘small cloud of cabbage-whites circles[ing] a bush’ and builds an atmosphere of serenity with the words ‘ the first [snow]flakes of the season spun over Brookline’ and one can only wonder how similarly reassuring these images are. With the words ‘they [the people of Beacon Street] had forgotten the miracle’, we feel angered, depressed and guilt-ridden thinking about man’s eternal pre-occupation therefore not having enough time for the miracles and wonders of the world and the same is justified when he says ‘their [butterflies’ and snowflakes’] element of joy was quickly forgotten’ and we can’t help but feel pity for those little creations of nature which beg for attention but get none. While this cocktail of pity and sorrow steadily develops from one side, his words ‘the leaves dimmed… that the flakes spun like ashes’ makes us first fearful of the darkness that is to come, afraid that we might have to go without warmth and light and then make us realize that we have bigger things to worry about like death and senescence (ashes, white hair and Arctic virginity of death). We do however, admire him for loving his land as much as he does (but before… in the sun) and he goes on to cheer us up with the prospect of having snowflakes on your eyelids and hair and looking out at gleaming sea scales in St. Lucia (white butterflies… in the sun) which fills us with warmth because this juxtaposition reminds us that even though we might be on this earth for a short time, good use of our time can be made. Derek Walcott, thus, manages to successfully achieve different moods.
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