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Saturday, January 23, 2016

The property of imagination

“The English language is nobody's special property. It is the property of the imagination: it is the property of the language itself.” – Derek Walcott

Born on this day in 1930, Saint Lucian-Trinidadian poet and playwright Derek Walcott is the 1992 winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature.  He is currently Professor of Poetry at the University of Essex. In addition to the Nobel, Walcott won an Obie Award for his play Dream on Monkey Mountain; a MacArthur Foundation "genius" award; a Royal Society of Literature Award; the Queen's Medal for Poetry; and the T. S. Eliot Prize for his remarkable book of poetry White Egrets (one of my all-time favorites).
 He once noted of his poetic writing, “If you know what you are going to write when you're writing a poem, it's just going to be average.”  His are not.  For powerful and poignant reads, check out his  “A City’s Death by Fire” or “A Far Cry From Africa.”  And, for Saturday’s Poem, here is,

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.

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