The Caribbean Writer

New Year Letter to Clarissa Eden (1 January 1990)

Richard Morris Dey


Open and well-appointed, with its view
seaward over the palms, the veranda seems
expecting you. But would you find by its jambs
what you and Anthony once found? It’s true:

mixed with the sound of waves pounding the shore,
with the fronds knocking and the lilting chatter,
are gears grinding, brakes and boombox jabber;
and where pale moonlight, the lantern of the poor,

played on the surf are strings of colored lights.
Up from the curve of sandy beach, or what’s left
of it (used for cement, the sand’s hauled off
by truck), lies a small beach club. One of the sights,

a whaleboat used for whaling in your day,
now welcomes guests as gatepost and flowerbed.
The shipwrights who rebuilt your house? The hard-
y whalers? The island’s young M.P. is grey

and now St. Vincent’s P.M. Above the house,
between Pagent Farm, site of his new airport,
and Port Elizabeth, still no resort,
the road’s been widened and paved, to loud applause.

Lady, the kind of quiet and distant peace


Copyright © Richard Morris Dey

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