Thursday, July 19, 2007

Profound Poet

Love after Love
Okay. So, there is a poem out there SOMEWHERE in the world that will or has spoken to YOU. I have always been fond of poetry, always fancied myself a bit of a Bob Frost or Sonnety Will or some such nonsense. I have written a good deal of personal, private poetry, taught poetry writing and appreciation, and generally felt quite literate. That is, until I met THE poem that spoke straight into my heart. This poem, "Love after Love," was nestled in a World Literature book about two and a half years ago. I happened upon it on a Valentine's Day morning in the middle of a class with about fifteen students staring wildly at my elation, my personal hallelujah..... as I read it to them cold. I like to do that with new anthology books sometimes. Some days I plan a lesson around a story I have read and thought about. (That's a good idea since I AM the teacher, huh?) but..... Sometimes when the class is great like this one, I love to be one of them and hear stuff for the first time---- at the same time. Oh.... I looked into their teenager eyes, and I knew this poem wasn't for them ... yet. I had to re-read it out loud... I had to have a "moment" and then I just tried to explain to them what this said to me. Later I shared it on a couple of blogs and on Alison's Brocante Forum. I MUCH later discovered it had been there in Simple Abundance, one of my favorite books of all times, years and years. I had read it before, but it wasn't "time." On that particular day, with that February cold, in the midst of all that kind of rueful Romance.... (Valentine's Day is forever bittersweet, isn't it? No matter what?)... it spoke to me. My heart was ripe for just this "word" from our sponsors.... Derek Walcott isn't someone I knew of then, but I do now. As I share the poem, I've tucked in little photos. These images are of my life, my home, and my Mom's home: Myself about ten years ago when it felt like I WAS myself.... At the end, my beautiful family as we are right now taken at my dad's 83rd birthday party. It is time for me to do as the poem says.... all the way through... to reclaim the inner person. Have a nice day and enjoy life.. Feast on it, actually. I recommend summer tomatoes and a chaser of chocolate! Hugs!
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.


Feast on your life.


marylou said...

Oh my, what glorious words!! I so enjoyed this post and thank you for sharing:) I had my chaser of chocolate as well, but of course!!! I imagine many of us will see ourselves in this amazing and haunting poem:)
Hug Life, Marylou

Tracy said...

Hi Gayla _ I *love* Simple Abundance, too, and I don't remember that beautiful poem.

Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving such a sweet note!

I'll be back to visit soon. :)

She Who Flies said...

"Feast on your life"... what a great line!!! Thanks for sharing this poem. May you do just day, feast on your life, day after day.