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
Derek Walcott is one of my all time favorites in the literature department.
Today, however, thanks to the poem above, he is my absolute favorite (no offense to any of the others. I simply often rotate my classic authors in much the same way that kindergarteners rotate best friends and favorite colors - gotta keep them on their toes!)
There is much to interpret from “Love After Love” - It’s gorgeous so please, read it slowly, personally and take from it what you will. But, what is it in particular that I hear from it? What makes it so important to me today?
I love the idea of sudden self-reflection. How it may take place wherever. How it can take place whenever! But most importantly how it may lead you into a sudden positive upswing. From the ashes you may start to form a solid state of self-renewal and self-love as you begin to find your feet once again. It’s true that there are times in our lives where we may accidentally find we’ve become our own greatest strangers. I think it’s fantastic that Walcott puts it out there that this indeed may happen to almost everyone. Take comfort in this fact as you begin to find yourself! Don’t be ashamed or alarmed by the revelation that it has somehow happened to you too. Just breathe. Take things a day at a time. Reflect. And love. Always love. Because love comes after love comes after love. xx