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.
Derek Walcott (1930-2017) was born in St Lucia, and, since the 1950s he divided his time between Boston, New York and St Lucia. In his long and distinguished career (including the Nobel Prize in Literature 1992) the main themes he returned to were, language, power, and place. I love this poem because it seems to encapsulate so much in a small amount of words. It allows us to accept that we often lose, fight, and blame ourselves in our life. But, this poem, does not scold us about this, it rather gives love and experience to it. The capital word ‘Give’ repeats three times, telling us what to do…love ourselves. Not easy (in my experience), but worth it.