Make your own free website on Tripod.com


Whisper

This is H.K. Derby's third published collection.
It was written after his return from the Congo in 1968 where he had lived while dealing with the loss of his wife and mother.
This is his most famous work, a mix of mourning and awe.
Reproduced here are a few selected poems from this enchanting and deep collection.



Whisper:
The sky
Infinite and black
Is it our shadow?
Whisper softly, endless grass,
But whisper softly,
Softly.

Reeds:
I envy the dewy reeds;
Lazily they sway,
Each morning they weep.

Each Night I Live My Dreams:
As morning comes, I sleep;
No pale sunlight can wake me.
In the afternoon
My dreams
Come to an end -
I rise and I am tired.

The Muddy River:
River,
I see footprints in your muddy banks;
They are not mine.
Water,
As you pass regard them well;
They will not last.

The Lonely King:
Solemnly, the sun crushes the earth under its heat;
I seek the shade.
Ponderous and stately,
It runs its lonely arc;
I will outlast it.
In the night,
The sprawling shadows and the tangled roots, the looming arms and brittle
fingers,
Do not frighten me;
I am alseep.

Immortality:
There is a leaf, tonight, which will not fall.
Impossibly, it clings,
With all its fragile might,
To the tree's outstretched
Knotted
Reaching hands.
Stars tumble headlong through the sky; wrathful fires consume forests; the
leaf twitches,
And endures.
Tomorrow, it will fall.

As I Breath I Think Of You:
As I breath I think of you.
With each inhalation comes
The scent of the lush undergrowth,
The distant cries of plummèd parrots,
The touch of moist air which foretells the storm.
It is your scent,
It is your cry,
It is your touch.

I Search For You, My Love:
What is hidden
Underneath
The thick and writhing roots?
What is preserved
In secret
Behind the wall of boughs?
A fawn, a moth, some dampened earth.
Conrad’s horror is not here.

Untitled:
These waters flow
Into the endless sea;
They rain down on the land;
They seep into the lakes, into my home.
Perhaps millennia from now,
They will return.
Will they recognize the great
Grandchildren
Of the fishes that they sired?


Back to Poems
Home