What are some of the main themes in Dereck Walcott's poem "The Flock," and how could the rhyme scheme of the poem reflect these?

A main theme in Dereck Walcott's poem "The Flock" is the importance of seasons, especially of winter. For the speaker, winter is a season of stillness when he can quiet his mind and write. The initially regular rhyme scheme of the poem falls away as the poem progresses, reflecting the speaker's attempt to record his thoughts before the stillness of winter. 

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The theme of the poem is the importance of seasons—especially winter, a season of stillness when the "mind reflect[s] its fixity." The speaker feels a kinship with the birds (ducks) as they come to his southern home in the Caribbean, "flying by instinct to their secret places / both for...

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The theme of the poem is the importance of seasons—especially winter, a season of stillness when the "mind reflect[s] its fixity." The speaker feels a kinship with the birds (ducks) as they come to his southern home in the Caribbean, "flying by instinct to their secret places / both for their need and for my sense of season."

What complicates the poem is that Walcott is sitting in the tropics as the northern birds arrive—and while "fixity" will come, most of the poem shows his mind in a tumult.

The arrival of the birds reminds the speaker of winter. The ducks bring up to his imagination images of cold and barren stillness, such as the "skeletal forest," "snow," and the Arctic, "whose glaciers encased the mastodon." The season will come and eventually settle down the speaker's "branched mind." The migrating birds will usher in a quiet period in which the speaker can write.

The poem begins with a somewhat orderly end rhyme scheme, ababcbc; the words "thinned" and "wind" rhyme, as do "fly," "sky," and "I" and "sense" and "violence." However, on the word "violence," which ushers in an enjambment—a place where the end of a line is not the end of a thought—the rhyme scheme suddenly disappears. The enjambment puts an emphasis on the word "violence." From an orderly collection of thoughts as the speaker contemplates the arrival of the birds, the speaker moves into a violent jumble of images. The initial orderliness of the speaker's mind is reflected in the ordered rhyme scheme. However, as the images are now rapidly "migrating from the mind," this is reflected by the poem dropping any attempt at a rhyme scheme as the speaker quickly records what is he is thinking before winter's stillness falls.

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