Book Seven--Descent to the Underworld


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


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


I. They look on the damned souls in the Malebolge/Pool of Speculation -- traitors who sold land, office, or casinos.
Il. 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.
Ill. Walcott discusses his own lack of faith as they look on the poets in hell.  The vision ends.


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


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


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


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


I. 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.
Il. Achille wants to name Helen's child after Hector.  "We'll all heal."
Ill. The Old and New World are interlocked for Walcott in the sign of the swift.


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

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"All manner of thing shall be well/ When the tongues of flame are in-folded/ Into the crowned knot of fire/ And the fire and the rose are one." -- T.S. Eliot, Little Gidding