Book Seven: Descent to the Underworld


  • Walcott walks out on a hotel balcony and has a vision of the shape-shifting Omeros/Seven Seas as a bust.
  • Walcott follows Omeros in a vision and feels his own wound heal.
  • He talks with Omeros about seeing him in London, not reading all of The Odyssey, and war and sex.


  • Omeros and Walcott begin their descent into Hell. Omeros (and Walcott) offer poetic praise for St. Lucia.
  • They speak with the ferryman.
  • They look on the fleets from the Battle of the Saints.


  • They look on the damned souls in the Malebolge/Pool of Speculation -- traitors who sold land, office, or casinos.
  • Omeros/Seven Seas tells him that the real journey is inward and motionless They see Hector in a hell/purgatory of his own making, as well as Bennet & Ward.
  • Walcott discusses his own lack of faith as they look at the poets in hell. The vision ends.


  • Walcott reflects that Philoctete and he had the same wound and cure. The sea forgets epics.
  • "History has simplified" Achille and St. Lucia, yet history is itself simplified by the sea. An invocation is offered to the Sun.
  • The rage of Achille--he is angry at tourists for taking pictures of tired fishermen after a long day.


  • Seven Seas predicts the destruction of humanity, and Achille and Philoctete go in search of a new home.
  • Achille and Philoctete spend the night on the beach.
  • They encounter a god-like whale.


  • Plunkett remembers refusing to take Maud's virginity before marriage, as he allows Ma Kilman to look for Maud in the spirit world.
  • Plunkett encounters Maud's spirit in the doorway.
  • His wound is also healed and he gives up his project of history.


  • Seven Seas hears/sees the island, especially the spiritual blindness of the tourists.
  • Walcott recognizes the problem of seeing Helen as a classical Greek figure. The remains of the Battle of Saintes are all buried in history.
  • Children in school learn yet ignore history.


  • Ma Kilman's niece, Christine, is another Helen, Seven Seas tells about the trouble Statics encounters when he takes up with a Cherokee woman in Florida.
  • Achille wants to name Helen's child after Hector. "We'll all heal."
  • The Old and New World are interlocked for Walcott in the sign of the swift.


  • Walcott's final invocation: "I sang of quiet Achille, Afolabe's son."
  • Helen is a waitress and African, not a classical Greek story.
  • Achille at work with the "sea still going on."