Love after Love (poem written by Derek Walcott

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.

I heard this poem at the spiritual center I go to. I instantly felt its power to my core. Each of the carefully chosen words: “with ELATION’ ‘Give back your heart’ ‘the desperate notes’ ‘FEAST on your life’
I love this poem. “You will love again the stranger who was your self” Allow yourself to be LOVED by you. LOVE yourself as you would someone for whom you DEMONSTRATE deep, PROFOUND affection. Go easy on yourself. Love yourself. Act with compassion toward yourself. “Give BACK your heart to ITSELF”
We have to take care of ourselves, not just physically. We have to have a gentle and loving emotional touch for ourselves. We have to provide ourselves a soft place to fall. We HAVE to learn to demonstrate compassion for ourselves. If we don’t act with compassion toward ourselves, not only will we struggle to effectively do so for others, but we will live in a world expecting constant judgment, barrage, criticism, dislike, and live to be incredibly untrusting.
I’m working on allowing myself to look in the mirror and see my reflection as lovable, as good enough…..no. scratch that. ‘Good’ doesn’t matter. I don’t want to be ‘good enough’ I want to BE love. I want to exude love. I want to be and exude compassion. I want to be and exude forgiveness, peace, acceptance. For myself. For others. ‘Good’ is a judgment. I don’t want to leave room for judgments. Just a warm embrace of ‘the stranger who has loved [me] all [my] life, whom [I] ignored’

Imagine…..if you welcome that stranger, how much more JOY will be poured out.

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