Exiled experience of individuals has given rise to expatriate literature in contemporary period. The main reason behind it is the massive migratory movements across ages. For all the common wealth expatriate writers the reason for migration seems to be common. Writers from West Indies, Africa, Australia, India and Pakistan moved to America or England with an intention to have large number of readers who dare to think beyond continents and countries. It brought a sense of loss to these writers because they always missed their own country, tradition and culture. Thus we can say that they suffered from identity crisis because there was always a particular country moving continuously in their mind. There was a sense that they belonged to nowhere however they propagated internationalism and cosmopolitanism. Miss Robin Hyde a writer from New Zealand has remarked that-
“It’s just dawned on me that I’m a New Zealander and surely, surely, the legends of the mountains, rivers and people that we see about us should mean more to us than the legends of any country on earth.”
It is interesting to note that it is equally applicable to all the common wealth writers who feel alienated and separated from their motherland. However, Derek Walcott is different in approach. He is a Caribbean Nobel Laureate in Literature for 1992. He is also an expatriate poet but his commitment is multi-cultural. He is such a kind of writers who believe in assimilating twin cultures that is to say the land of his present living as well as his motherland. He was born in St. Lucia in West Indies and educated at St. Mary’s College. He has written volumes of poetry like In a Green Night( 1962), The Castaway( 1965), The Arkansas Testament, Another Life, The Gulf and other poems in 1969, Omeros in 1990 and several others. One can figure out treble impulse in the writings of Walcott. His American stay and African origin is clearly visible in several of his writings. Walcott has written in Codicil that one needs to change his life to change his language. This dilemma of tradition and language has beautifully been explored in “A Far Cry from Africa.” Multicultural commitment has been expressed in this poem. John Figueroa who is a poet as well as a critic has compiled a volume of poems from West India and it was broadcasted by BBC. He mentions that Walcott has used West Indian language beautifully in his poems. Although it is in English but vision is West Indian. Poems written by Derek Walcott show a conflict between English and native dialect. The tone of the poem can be felt by the opening lines of the poem. The pain of colonial torture is fresh in the mind of the poet. Walcott writes-
“A wind is ruffling the tawny pelt
Of Africa. Kikuyu, quick as flies
Batten upon the bloodstreams of the veldt.
Corpses are scattered through a paradise.
Only the worm, colonel of carrion , cries:
The image of brutality is suggested by “Worm” which vitiated the surrounding. Such kind of image is recurrent in the poetry of Walcott. He has written bitterly against the colonial rule. Through his writings he has tried out to revolt against the injustice brought through the colonial expansion in Africa. In the following lines he has written about the discrimination against race and color-
“Statistics justify and scholars seize
The salients of colonial policy
What is that to the white child hacked in bed?
To savages, expendable as Jews?”
It seems that humanity has been killed and drowned in hatredness. Human beings kill each other only to show their supremacy. People are discriminated against race and color. It is not merely a piece of poetry but reality. Walcott continues-
“The violence of beast on beast is read
As natural law, but upright man
Seeks his divinity with inflicting pain.”
Human compassion has been wasted to show that a man is merely an animal. The torture of colonial expansion is inhumane and cannot be justified on any grounds. Walcott’s dilemma as a poet has been expressed in the last stanza of the poem. There are a series of questions in the last stanza of the poem. These questions are rhetorical in nature and Walcott has tried to retain the native tradition as well as the English language. It can be felt by reading the lines-
“ I who am poisoned with the blood of both,
Where shall I turn, divided to the vein?
I who have cursed
The drunken officer of British rule, how choose
Between this Africa and the English tongue I love?
Betray them both, or give back what they give?
How can I face such slaughter and be cool?
How can I turn from Africa and live?
Walcott has been trapped in the English tongue and his national identity. He is unable to find out what to opt and thus he is full of questions. Here lies the multi cultural commitment which has no stand of its own.