Me upon my pony on my boat
July 24, 2007 6:23 AM   Subscribe

Help me track down this poem by (I think) Derek Walcott.

It's Stump-AskMe poetry time. I've been thinking about this one on and off for the last 10 years or so. When I was in college I read a poem that I think was one of Walcott's that reminded me strongly of Lyle Lovett's If I Had a Boat. I wondered if it might have been an inspiration for the song. Now whether this is because it actually was really similar, or just because it mentioned something about a horse on a boat, I can no longer remember. I have the book that I probably would have read this in back then, but it's a huge bunch of Walcott's collected poems, and I've never been successful in tracking down the one I want. Some day maybe I'll just give in and read the whole thing, but before I make the time investment required to read several hundred pages of poetry, I thought I'd check with you guys. Does this ring a bell with anyone?
posted by MsMolly to Media & Arts (5 answers total)
I think you described half of Walcott. Style-wise, that reminds me of certain parts of Omeros, but I don't remember which off the top of my head, and the book is a long ways away.
posted by devilsbrigade at 8:07 AM on July 24, 2007

I immediately thought Omeros also.
If it is not that, could it be the prose poem "Never Be the Horse" by Beckian Fritz Goldberg? That specifically has a horse on a boat...
posted by rmless at 8:16 AM on July 24, 2007

Here is an outline of Omeros, btw.

from the looks of it, you might want chapter VI
posted by rmless at 8:20 AM on July 24, 2007

If it is Omeros, then it can't be the inspiration for "If I Had a Boat," since the song predates it.
posted by fidelity at 8:43 AM on July 24, 2007

I'm not sure if this is apocryphal or not, but in the cover of "If I Had a Boat" performed by Eddie from Ohio, the lead singer tells a story suggesting that the lyrics emerged from a conversation that Lyle Lovett had with a small boy.

According to the story, Lovett asked the boy, "If you could have anything in the world, what would you ask for?"

The boy replied, "A boat! No! A - a - pony."

Anyway, whether it's true or not that that heartbreakingly sweet exchange inspired the song, it's still a damn good story.
posted by AngerBoy at 11:16 AM on July 24, 2007

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