Poem of the Week, by Derek Walcott

IMG_0342People who say they have “no regrets” mystify me. Regrets, oh I’ve got a few. Like last night when I couldn’t get back to sleep for thinking about the times I yelled at my children when they were little. This didn’t happen much, but every time it did, my self-hatred was huge. It still is. As a mother I wanted always and only to be a comfort to my kids. But when you’re yelling, you’re not a comfort, are you?

In the dark hours before dawn, in hopes of forgiving myself by understanding myself, I tried to see myself as the little girl I used to be, the child who, like all children, had little control over her own life. No dice.

This morning I wrote notes to my children, telling them how sorry I was for having yelled. Because what else can I do? You can’t go back in time and undo things. Then my favorite line from this beautiful poem —give back your heart to itself–drifted into my head. 

 

Love After Love, by Derek Walcott

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.

For more information about Derek Walcott, please click here.

6 comments

  1. Cindy Wold · November 30, 2019

    This is one of my favorites. Thank you for elevating the day with your sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. alisonmcghee · November 30, 2019

    You are so welcome. Solidarity. XO

    Like

  3. amykossblogthang · November 30, 2019

    Oh! I ‘ve never read that before! Thanks, April. xoxoxox

    Liked by 1 person

    • alisonmcghee · November 30, 2019

      You’re so welcome! Glad it struck a chord.

      Like

  4. This is a beautiful blog post. My therapist, when I was a teenager, printed this poem and told me to read it as a way to practice mindfulness and self-love. It was refreshing and comforting to read it on this post. Also, I grew up with a single mother and we have had our fraught moments, but she remains my favourite person to this day. You’re only human – we all lose our cool at times. But, ultimately, since you are so mindful of others, I’ll bet your children remember more the comfort you provided them, and not those brief moments of anger.

    Liked by 1 person

    • alisonmcghee · December 14, 2019

      What a beautiful thing to say. Thank you so much for sharing your own experience. XO

      Like

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