19 pages 38 minutes read

Derek Walcott

Adam's Song

Fiction | Poem | Adult | Published in 1985

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Poem Analysis

Analysis: “Adam’s Song”

“Adam’s Song” is inspired by the Abrahamic creation myth of the Garden of Eden. In the Christian tradition, the narrative of Adam and Eve’s creation and their expulsion from the Garden of Eden plays a central role; Walcott draws upon these narratives for the characters and themes of “Adam’s Song.” Like the Biblical account, the poem places a particular emphasis on the dynamic between Adam, Eve, and the god that created them. The poem is also keenly aware of the story’s role as a creation myth and consistently makes efforts to draw connections between contemporary humanity and their original ancestors.

Walcott goes beyond a simple retelling of this origin story; he expands and refreshes the Old Testament narrative by introducing Adam’s titular song. The poem’s song acts both as a connecting bridge between the Biblical narrative and the present day and as a celebration of earthly love, song, and art. In celebrating these earthly qualities, Walcott’s speaker suggests that they are superior and more fundamental aspects of human experience than the paradisaical garden where Adam and Eve were created. The poem’s use of rhyme, repetition, and Biblical

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