Book: One Introduction (St. Lucia)


  • Philoctete shows his wound to the tourists, as well as the cutting of the trees for canoes.
  • The cutting of the trees is treated as a sacrificing of the gods. We observe canoe building, including the naming of Achille's canoe, as In God We Troust, a mistake with real truth in it. The Aruaks, the island's original inhabitants are mentioned in passing.
  • We see the happiness of Achille as he prepares to fish in the ocean.


  • Philoctete's wound is discussed in more detail, and we learn of the names that the fishermen give their canoes.
  • Seven Seas, the blind Homer-figure is introduced. Likewise, Omeros as a figure is invoked: "O open this day with the conch's moan, Omeros/as you did in my boyhood, when I was a noun/gently exhaled from the palate of the sunrise." Omeros becomes a figure of colonial history who, "scanned the opening line of our epic horizon."
  • Antigone teaches Walcott to pronounce "Omeros." The name strikes him as representative of Antilles and of the past.


  • A duel of Hector and Achille, on the surface about bailing tin, but really over Helen.
  • Ma Kilman's No Pain Café, where Seven Seas and Philoctete are often helped.
  • Philoctete believes his wound is the wound of history.


  • Philoctete visits his yam garden. There, he treats his crop as if they were colonial oppressors.
  • Philoctete, seeing the sea swift, asks God's pardon and decides to endure.
  • Walcott, while at a resort, observes Helen's beauty.


  • We are introduced to Major Plunkett and wife Maud. The Major reflects on the history of colonialism, as well as his WWII experience. The Major has a wound as well.
  • Plunkett recalls how he was wounded in action. Walcott, as the narrator, explains that all the characters are expressions of a fictionally "I." Plunkett reflects on his life with Maud.
  • Maud distrusts Helen because the later stole a dress from her. The Major decides that Helen needs a history, one equal to a classical Trojan history.


  • Helen, who is pregnant, is looking for work.
  • Helen must decide to confront change, and she thinks of the Beatles' song, Yesterday."
  • Helen imagines a battle as she walks through the smoke. Walcott reflects on having confronted her beauty once.


  • The marketplace is a polyglot of past and present. Helen leaves Achille for Hector.
  • Achille remembers when he had first suspected Helen and Hector.
  • Achille recalls a happier time and compares it to his present grief.


  • We learn of the crusted wine bottle in the museum and the kind of faith that surrounds a belief in buried treasure. Achille dives for money to please Helen.
  • A kind of descent to the Underworld. Achille questions why he has come down.
  • Philoctete tries to end the argument between Achille and Hector.


  • l. During hurricane season, Achille goes to work on Plunkett's pig farm and struggles with his thoughts of Helen. Maud misses Ireland.
  • Hector fails to save his canoe from the storm.
  • The hurricane is pictured as the gods having a fête.


  • The Major is depressed by the weather, reflecting on Maud's soon passing, etc.
  • Plunketts travel in their Land Rover to the mountain named for Ma Kilman. The landscape has the memory of the colonial atrocities of Bennett and Ward.
  • Plunkett prefers St. Lucia to old England, even though Maud has only partially made her peace with the island climate--in the form of gardens.


  • Plunkett decides to frame Helen's actions within the terms of colonial history and sets out to write a local history.
  • Plunkett and Maud are separated by his research.
  • Maud reflects on the beauty of the place, esp. her house, but also Achille's canoe.


  • Walcott returns to his boyhood home, which is now a printer's. He meets the ghost of his dead father, Warwick.
  • He travels with his father's ghost on a tour.
  • Walcott looks on the ghosts of the past and admits to his disbelief in an afterlife.


  • Warwick takes Walcott to an old barbershop, whose barber was both an Adventist and a Garveyite.
  • Warwick and Walcott look an ocean liner and reflect on the beauty and strength of black women. Walcott is charged with giving voice to them.
  • The work and vocation of the poet. Walcott's invocation/prayer to "O Thou, my Zero."