Lamps have begun to light as evening,
alluvial, fills every crevice in the courtyard,

fills Devon House, alone with its marble columns,
its verandas and esplanades empty,

the plantation gone, and the fields,
the courtyard a tourist attraction now:

glass ashtrays etched with boys
too large to be clambering coconut trees,

statuettes of women too smooth to be burdened
with baskets of fruit on their heads, stoneware

with doctor birds captured in the shallowest bas relief,
key rings carved in the rough shape of the island,

and now even the hummingbirds are spoken of as jewels
where once everyone drowned in leaf-filtered sunlight.

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This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 14 Number 4, on page 35
Copyright © 2019 The New Criterion | www.newcriterion.com
https://newcriterion.com//issues/1995/12/devon-house