Friday, March 5, 2010

Love After Love, a poem by Derek Walcott.

Post 440 - Derek Alton Walcott is a Caribbean poet, playwright, writer and visual artist who was born in Castries, Saint Lucia in 1930. After studying at St. Mary's College in his native island and at the University of the West Indies in Jamaica, Walcott moved to Trinidad in 1953, where he worked as a theater and art critic. For many years, he divided his time between Trinidad and Boston University, where he taught literature and creative writing. In 2010, he accepted an offer from the University of Essex to become the new Professor of Poetry of the university, from which he received an honorary doctorate in 2008. Walcott's other honors include a MacArthur Foundation "genius" award, a Royal Society of Literature Award, and the Queen's Medal for Poetry. He's an honorary member of the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters. He won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1992.

Walcott believes that “The English language is nobody's special property. It’s the property of the imagination: it’s the property of the language itself.”

I've always had a particular liking for the following 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 mirror,
and each will smile at the other's welcome,

and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was yourself.
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.

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