"Sense perception" may be defined in the following way: "any of the faculties of sight, smell, hearing, taste, and touch, by which the body perceives an external stimulus." You may use any of the other definition of "sense perception" on the internet, indeed; but all of them (in some sense) entail the one above. Derek Walcot in Omeros (in this excerpt: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/48317/omeros) offers "sense perception" as theme for poetry, as a subject for art: this is to say that he "represents" sense perception at work. Scan the poem for at least one or more moments in which Walcot gives us "sense perception at work," and write two pages on what these moments (or one of these moments) means to you.

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The picture Walcot paints of the landscape and situation he is describing in this poem is very much dependent upon sense perception: Walcot engages the reader by describing how the external stimuli of the world around his speaker are perceived by his senses, in a way which evokes the memory of similar sense perception in the reader. For example:

The first breeze

rattled the spears and their noise was like distant rain

marching down from the hills, like a shell at your ears.

In particular, the use of the simile "like a shell at your ears" as part of this sonar description helps the reader, through the use of this analogy, to understand the precise sound the poet is describing; the noise is "like distant rain," a sound with which we are all familiar.

Not only does Walcot establish an understanding between himself on the reader based on the fact that we all share similar moments of sense perception, he also uses allusion to suggest that this type of sensory perception unites all humans through time:

I heard the roar

of wind shaking the windows, and I remembered

Achilles on his own mattress and desperate Hector

trying to save his canoe

For the speaker, the "roar of wind" rattling the windows of a room during a storm evokes a memory of Achilles, a mythical hero who has been remembered for thousands of years. This causes us to consider not only what the familiar sound of such a roar of wind would evoke in us as a memory, but also to picture Achilles himself in such a storm, all of us hearing it in the same way, our sense perception acting as a unifying factor.

While the other senses do come into play in this poem—Walcot describes the way "the brown patches the horses had grazed / shone wet as their hides" and how "the drizzling light blew across the savannah," among many other instances—it is his use of evocative sound imagery which is particularly notable. We expect poets to describe, in vivid detail, the ways in which the sights of nature stimulate our emotions, but the sounds of Walcot's world are relentless in helping us to imagine it in every dimension. A horse is "marble-eyed at the thunder," a twofold image which offers us both the picture of the horse's wide eyes, and a sense of the accompanying sound "muffling the hills." The black rain "was pouring tin nails on the roof," and later the poet "heard the sluicing of water down the guttering."

In this poem, mere visual stimuli is insufficient for the poet to convey all that he wants to show about the world he is depicting. It is a world remembered, for him, in terms of all his senses, as is shown very clearly through this passage:

I smelt the drizzle

on the asphalt leaving the Morne, it was the smell

of an iron on damp cloth; I heard the sizzle

of fried jackfish in oil...

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with their coppery skin;

I smelt ham studded with cloves, the crusted accra

Why, Walcot seems to question, should we rely only upon visual descriptions when a more vivid picture can be created by describing the tiny details of sound and smell with which the reader can fill in the background of the place described? The similes and images Walcot uses are usually universal: he uses an analogy in order that the reader will be able to relate to it, and thus imagine more clearly what is being described. In Walcot's work, it is every sense, but particularly those of sound and smell, which evoke in us the memories of rain and cooking, of particular evenings and the way we felt then. This poem is an excellent example of how vividness can be created when the full range of senses is appealed to in the reader.

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