18 pages 36 minutes read

Derek Walcott

The Almond Trees

Fiction | Poem | Adult | Published in 1985

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Related Poems

The Armadillo” by Elizabeth Bishop (1957)

Bishop, whose poetry Walcott admired, here records a raucous street festival in Brazil in which fire balloons and fireworks are set off and the terror such explosions have on animals and birds. Like “The Almond Trees,” the poem uses that landscape-moment to make a social/political statement, in this case anti-war and the catastrophic impact war has on not only the natural world but on people who are terrorized by the destruction as well.

The Unknown Citizen by W. H. Auden (1939)

Poetry speaks to its political, cultural, and social moment. As a major influence on Walcott’s perception of the public role of the poet, here Auden uses the poem as a plaque inscription supposedly for a fictitious monument like the tombs of the unknown soldiers. Auden takes a stinging satiric look at the complacency of people who too-freely surrender their identity to the facelessness of a depersonalized industrial culture.

Ruins of a Great House” by Derek Walcott (1953)

Using the metaphor of a grand house in ruins, Walcott, in this poem completed in the same period as “The Almond Trees,” suggests the spiraling decline of the British Empire itself that had for centuries so corrupted the Caribbean culture.