Paul Scott Derrick

Paul Scott Derrick

A native of South Carolina, PAUL SCOTT DERRICK has lived in Valencia, Spain, since 1980 and has taught at the University of Valencia, where he is a Senior Lecturer in American literature, since 1989. His main field of interest encompasses Romanticism and American Transcendentalism and their influences on subsequent artistic and intellectual manifestations of the 20th and 21st centuries.

His critical works include Thinking for a Change: Gravity’s Rainbow and Symptoms of the Paradigm Shift in Occidental Culture (1994) and We stand before the secret of the world: Traces along the Pathway of American Transcendentalism (2003).

He has edited and co-translated into Spanish a number of critical editions of works by Ralph Waldo Emerson, Emily Dickinson (Spanish and Catalan), Henry Adams and Sarah Orne Jewett. He is co-editor, with Viorica Patea, of Modernism Revisited: Transgressing Boundaries and Strategies of Renewal in American Poetry (2007) and is, with Norman Jope and Catherine E. Byfield, a co-editor of The Salt Companion to Richard Berengarten (2011). He has, in addition, published English translations of poems by Jorge de Montemayor, Luis Cernuda, Pablo Neruda and Jorge Luis Borges and, with Miguel Teruel, a translation of Richard Berengarten’s Black Light into Spanish (2012).

His essays, translations and poems have appeared in various American and Spanish journals since 1982 and, more recently, in several electronic publications.


She opens her eyes to Helios Helios Helios’
painful glare. She arches, luxurious,
breathing in island air . . . and then remembers
love. She opens her hand to – something wrong.
The scoundrel isn’t there!

She squints out over the glittering
sand – an apt expanse for the blossoming
of all her fears. She cries, that tad too loud:
“What cruel game is this?” But the query
is not for human ears.

“Honeycake?” She names him, “Honeycake!”
as though to formulate that beautiful boy
she sacrificed so much to save. Murmuring
surf is the sole reply, and laughter from
the gulls above the waves.

Gone with the Cycladian wind. Poor
babe. Everything – gone with the wind.
Your valiant Captain and his teen-age crew
have flown the coop (under cover of night)
the way travelling Greeks are reported to do.

Still, she disbelieves – determined to wake
up from a dream – till, finding their
footprints pointed to the
sea and ciphering a billow of blackened
sail, she reconstructs the progress of his treachery.

Forced to think at last, because she loved too
much, she clarifies the limits of her world.
Sand, sea, rock and sky: A hollow
sphere, an absence,
memory, desire.

I could’ve told you, silly girl, if you had
only stopped to ask before the passion
went awry. You melted, all inflamed,
in a stranger’s glib embrace, and
publicized the path of paradox.
But your treachery saved a treacherous guy.

You’ve unconcealed your mystery,
unravelled the way to your soul.
So what did you expect?
Your hero is no clergyman.
His lot is ruthlessness – no time
for gentle scruples of respect.

Now, Ariadne, lie back down on the shore.
You’ve had your time for weeping.
A godlier love is drawing near,
a crown of darker joys.
Gather your gowns about your innocent breast.
Eternity’s time for sleeping.

For other contributions by Paul Scott Derrick, please follow the link below:

Poetry in this post: © Paul Scott Derrick
Published with the permission of Paul Scott Derrick