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

8 responses

  1. You are in my prayers, Eve. Poetry heals.

    Ode To the Passionflower
    by Helen Losse

    O, passionflower,
    growing in Mary’s Garden—
    your lavender flowers prophetic in unction:

    Their tendrils are showing forth
    Christ’s scourging, the three top stigma the nails,
    the five lower anthers the wounds, the radial
    filaments the crown of thorns,
    placed on the head of the “King of the Jews.”

    O, teach us, teach us, little reminder—

    for red stains are His blood, shed,
    the style to mock, to offer Him vinegar:
    Your fragrance all spices that anoint,
    and like the dogwood, your taller neighbor,
    with each flower Calvary’s cross, your
    blossoms focus on the sadness:

    For, while we gladly walk in the garden,
    the joy of heaven is yet to come.

    first published in Flutter

  2. This is a wonderful poem, articulating the truth of relationships in one’s life. As early as yesterday, someone, again, wanted to talk me out of my answer to them…”No, I still don’t want to do what you want me to do.” At 72, I find the most trustworthy person in my life has and always will be myself. I am the only one I have never left. My journey feels less frightening to me now; I go on, stepping forward, retreating from desparation.

    • Carol, I’m very happy to meet you here. I don’t know many people who at age 72 are willing to admit what you did here. There is no standing still, is there? One can be still, but one really must be on a forward- or backward-moving trajectory energetically. I have never had as much fear as I’ve had lately, and by grace I’m able to look it in the eye every day. Sometimes hourly.

  3. I printed this one out – it made me feel very still. I really don’t read enough poetry, but when I do, I can’t understand why. Thanks, Eve.

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