Tuesday, October 31, 2023

from "Tales of the Islands, Chapter IX / Le Loupgarou" by Derek Walcott

Chapter IX / “Le Loupgarou”

A curious tale that threaded through the town
Through greying women sewing under eaves,
Was how his greed had brought old Le Brun down,
Greeted by slowly shutting jalousies
When he approached them in white linen suit,
Pink glasses, cork hat, and tap-tapping cane,
A dying man licensed to sell sick fruit,
Ruined by fiends with whom he’d made a bargain.
It seems one night, these Christian witches said,
He changed himself to an Alsatian hound,
A slavering lycanthrope hot on a scent,
But his own watchman dealt the thing a wound.
It howled and lugged its entrails, trailing wet
With blood, back to its doorstep, almost dead.

Source of the text - Derek Walcott, Collected Poems: 1948-1984.  New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1986, pages 26-27.

TJB: I’d like to meet his tailor. In this tale of a fruitseller/wolf teetering between cultures, balanced iambics give way at times to wild anapests & assonance.

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