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.
Many thanks to Ken Chawkin and the bread crumbs he left that led me to this poem on his blog Uncarved Block.
Reading it moved me deeply. One wonders if the whole purpose of our life journey is to lead us to that place where we see ourselves, finally, “face to face,” and greet ourselves with love and elation in this ultimate homecoming.
Ken describes his own tender home-coming on his website and provides many interesting links about Walcott, the Nobel Prize winning poet and artist.
In the video below you can listen to Walcott reading his poem from his island home on St. Lucia. You don’t want to miss this.