Post-colonial criticism analyzes literature from the point of view of the colonized, the people who are oppressed by colonial power. It expresses the subaltern point of view, often called the view from below.
While Walcott, a poet of mixed African and European descent, feels torn in his loyalties, the poem primarily depicts the damage caused by rationalizing the destructive force of colonialism.
Corpses are scattered through a paradise.
Only the worm, colonel of carrion, cries:
“Waste no compassion on these separate dead!”
A colonel would most likely be a colonial official, here likened to a worm feeding on the flesh of the dead. While the colonizer uses "statistics" to justify the brutality of "colonial policy," the narrator juxtaposes the cold rationality of colonialism, a system which for a long time brought great wealth to the colonizers, to the damage it does to both the colonizer and the colonized. The narrator says the statistics mean nothing either to the "white child hacked to death" or to "savages" (how the colonizers characterized native peoples) who he ironically calls as "expendable as Jews."
Acknowledging that he contains the "blood of both" European and African, the narrator wonders how to choose
Between this Africa and the English tongue I love?
He cannot turn away from the bloody violence wrought by colonialism. At the same time, he has internalized the culture and values of the oppressor and values "the English tongue." At the end of the poem, he expresses a common post-colonial theme: that of one's identity being torn between two cultures.