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 Sea Grapes, 1976

Derek Walcott (1930-1987) received the 1992 Nobel Prize in Literature. The committee lauded his “poetic oeuvre of great luminosity, sustained by a historical vision.” Image: Danielle Devaux/Farrar, Straus and Giroux