Sunday, March 19, 2017

Poetry Sunday: Love After Love

We lost poet Derek Walcott last week. He was from Saint Lucia in the West Indies. His poetry won him much acclaim and many awards through the years. Most notably, he was the winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1992. 

His masterpiece is said to be a book-length poem called Omeros that was published to much critical praise in 1990. It is loosely based on the work of Homer and some of his major characters from The Iliad.

Many of his poems are quite long. In looking for a shorter one to feature here, I found "Love After Love," which I quite like. It seems to say to me that we can lose ourselves when we rely on others to verify our existence. We can too easily forget the only person who is with us throughout our lives. We forget and neglect our own selves. Walcott urges us to "Give back your heart to itself," and to "Feast on your life."  


Love After Love 

by Derek Walcott

The time will come 
when, with elation 
you will greet yourself arriving 
at your own door, in your own mirror 
and each will smile at the other's welcome, 

and say, sit here. Eat. 
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart 
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you 

all your life, whom you ignored 
for another, who knows you by heart. 
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf, 

the photographs, the desperate notes, 
peel your own image from the mirror. 
Sit. Feast on your life. 

6 comments:

  1. "Feast on your life." I like it! :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's something that we too often deny ourselves, isn't it? Maybe just another way of saying, appreciate what you have.

      Delete