Poetry Friday:Love After Love By Derek Walcott

I over think everything, and so it was with a poem to choose for Poetry Friday, which also happened to be the first day of a brand new year. Over breakfast this morning (already a day late, not a good omen for a new year), the much thumbed through poetry anthology I thought to leaf through fell open to this poem:

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.

And there it was: the perfect poem. When I first read this poem, these lines thrummed over and over:

“Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life whom you ignored
for another…”

They spoke of that journey we make towards understanding ourselves, and how hard it is to learn to trust our own intuitive wisdom, buried beneath layers of expectations, norms, conformity, self-doubt, mistrust. They spoke, directly, to me. And, I think, it’s just the right one with which to begin a new year.

3 thoughts on “Poetry Friday:Love After Love By Derek Walcott

  1. We’ve spent plenty of time with ourselves this year, haven’t we? I love this, Tara, perhaps a poem to keep for those days when we forget? Thanks for opening that anthology and Happy New Year (whew) one more time!

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  2. I was with you all the way through this post, from the very first line (over thinking the start of the new semester is my current Sunday panic) and trusting/loving myself is an ongoing journey. So thank you for this. Tell yourself to give your self a big hug. I’ll do the same. Happy New Year!

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  3. Again, thanks Tara for “discovering” such poetry. It always opens the doors of the heart and mind and nudges us down a different path to think and indeed, feeling. Happy New Year! J

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