“arriving at your own door” photo westcoastwoman

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.

– Derek Walcott


…..As I put the key into the lock and opened the door to ‘the loft’ on this distant island that feels so very far from home, this poem came to mind. It is a piece that has haunted me for a few years perhaps because I don’t want the message to be true.

There is no ‘magical other’ waiting to save us from ourselves or from the circling storm of uncertainty that surrounds us.

There is a welcome shedding of expectation that comes from the words, a sigh of relief that the only goal is to “give back your heart to itself” and “peel your own image from the mirror.”
Those things in themselves appear to be insurmountable right now but when compared with continuing this exhausting upstream swim, the image of simply floating with the current back to my “own door” is indeed a feeling of “elation.”

The latch is well worn, many have opened it and returned …..

Sit. Eat. Feast on your life.

westcoastwoman 2020

15 thoughts on “Shedding

  1. This is one of my favorite poems! I also appreciate your brave and honest insight into it. Derek Walcott was an artist, poet, professor and playwright. He was acknowledged as the greatest living poet in the English language while he was alive. He won the Nobel prize for Literature in 1992. You can hear him recite his poem, Love After Love, in a beautiful documentary that was made of him called, Poetry Is An Island. I embed that part of the film’s trailer on my blog, along with links to other readings and articles:

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Thank you for sharing. I’ve never read this before .I wonder how I’d feel if I had seen it pre-cancer. Because now I feast on my life every single day that I’m lucky enough to be alive. My perspective on life is so very different now. I feast on everything. And the image in the mirror has changed and morphed over the last year. But it is finally becoming recognizable again. And that’s something to feast on indeed! ❤️✌️🎸

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lesley!….so good to see your face appear here. Thank you for sharing your perspective from the place you find yourself. “the image in the mirror becoming recognizable again.” Hand to heart, tears of joy reading your words.
      Thank ‘you’ for sharing.


    1. Poems to Make Grown Men Cry….the perfect place to find this poem. It touches such a deep, authentic place within me asking nothing and everything…”give back your heart to itself”


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