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.
In that joyous moment of self-discovery, you’ll know that you’ve found true love – the kind that comes from within. You’ll embrace your flaws and celebrate your unique qualities. You’ll understand that you are enough, just as you are, and you’ll love yourself unconditionally. And in that newfound self-love, you’ll radiate a beauty that will attract others to you like a magnet.
“Love After Love”: A Poetic Reminder to Love Yourself First
Derek Walcott’s poem “Love After Love” is a powerful reminder of the importance of self-love. The poem speaks to the transformative experience of coming home to oneself, of recognizing one’s own beauty and worth, and of learning to love oneself unconditionally. In just a few short lines, Walcott’s words capture the essence of a journey that many of us undertake in our own lives: the journey to find true love, the kind that begins and ends with ourselves.
The poem begins with the line, “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.” This line evokes a sense of excitement and anticipation, suggesting that the act of coming home to oneself is something to look forward to. It also highlights the importance of recognizing oneself in the mirror, of seeing oneself as an individual worthy of love and respect.
The next lines of the poem read, “Sit. Feast on your life.” Here, Walcott urges the reader to take the time to enjoy and appreciate their own life. He reminds us that life is a precious gift, and that we should savor it, relish it, and take pleasure in it. This line encourages us to take a break from the busyness of our lives, to sit down and really savor the experience of being alive.
The final lines of the poem read, “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.” Here, Walcott speaks to the idea that we are often strangers to ourselves, that we ignore and neglect our own needs and desires in favor of pleasing others. He encourages us to give ourselves the same love and care that we give to others, to offer ourselves the same warmth and kindness that we offer to strangers.
What is particularly powerful about Walcott’s poem is the way it speaks to the idea that true love begins and ends with oneself. He reminds us that in order to love others fully, we must first learn to love ourselves fully. He encourages us to embrace our flaws and celebrate our unique qualities, to understand that we are enough, just as we are, and to love ourselves unconditionally. This message is particularly important in a world that often values external validation over internal satisfaction.
In a society that places such a high value on external appearances, it can be easy to lose sight of the importance of self-love. We are bombarded with images of what we should look like, how we should act, and what we should aspire to be. We are told that happiness lies in external accomplishments, rather than in internal satisfaction. Walcott’s poem serves as a reminder that true happiness can only be found by coming home to ourselves, by recognizing our own beauty and worth, and by loving ourselves unconditionally.
In conclusion, Derek Walcott’s poem “Love After Love” is a poetic reminder to love oneself first. Through his words, he encourages us to take the time to appreciate our own lives, to embrace our flaws, and to love ourselves unconditionally. He speaks to the transformative power of self-love, reminding us that true happiness can only be found by coming home to ourselves. Walcott’s words are a powerful reminder that we are each deserving of love and respect, and that true love begins and ends with oneself.
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