The great poet Derek Walcott has died. Poets die all the time; people die all the time, but some hit a little harder than others. I’ve always read and returned to Walcott but somehow had been examining his work more carefully earlier this year, returning again and again between recent weeks’ travels and thwarted travels. A lot of reading in general and so much appreciation for, as Maria Popova put it in her always enlightening Brainpickings, “undoubtedly one of the greatest, most soul-stretching poems ever written”:
“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.”