“Love After Love” by Derek Walcott

(For 2012 National (US) Poetry Month celebrations)

There is just something about a Walcott poem.   Enjoy!

LOVE AFTER LOVE

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

From Collected Poems 1948-1984 by Derek Walcott. Copyright © 1986 by Derek Walcott.  Permission for reprint

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16 comments

  1. I love Walcott’s poetry! I have a few of his books in my library and I love his stuff. Years ago I used to do poetry readings and in doing so I shared more than one of his poems.

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  2. For Oliver Jackman

    It’s what others do, not us, die, even the closest

    on a vainglorious, glorious morning, as the song goes,

    the yellow or golden palms glorious and all the rest

    a sparkling splendour, die. They’re practising calypsos,

    they’re putting up and pulling down tents, vendors are slicing

    the heads of coconuts around the savannah, men

    are leaning on, then leaping into pirogues, a moon will be rising

    tonight in the same place over Morne Coco, then

    the full grief will hit me and my heart will toss

    like a horse’s head or a thrashing bamboo grove

    that even you could be part of the increasing loss

    that is the daily dial of the revolving shade. love

    lies underneath it all though, the more surprising

    the death, the deeper the love, the tougher the life.

    The pain is over, feathers close your eyelids, Oliver.

    What a happy friend and what a fine wife!

    Your death is like our friendship beginning over.

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    • Ah Parrish, thanks for posting this. The line: “then the full grief will hit me and my heart will toss like a horse’s head or a thrashing bamboo grove that even you could be part of the increasing loss that is the daily dial of the revolving shade” says it all. Walcott’s way of imbuing his homeland in the Caribbean into most of his writing is wonderful. He just has a way of expressing, or being earnest and touching our hearts at the same time.

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