Derek Walcott published last week his new collection of poems White Egrets. The following poem is via 52 Poems: A Poem a Week from Faber:
I come out of the studio for blue air
that has no edges, for a sea white with lace,
shaken again by still another failure.
My mirror seems to want some other face.
The usual bristling halt, my joy upset
by some rhetorical passage in the painting,
too crude, too vain, at which the brush went, Stet!
Blood sugar low. Next thing I'll be fainting.
What glares in there now has taken months
to make, drawing and draft and structure that leapt
into belief with faith that youth had once
that it would soar while lesser talents slept.
The elongated figures of an ascetic
straight from El Greco, his skull-echoing face--
well, imitation is its own aesthetic,
less theft than tribute, as they say these days.
The failed canvases
turn their shamed faces to the wall like sins.
A square of sunlight slowly passes
across the studio floor. I envy its patience.