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Saturday, January 26, 2019

The 'Affect' of Poetry

“The number of people who read a poem is not as important as how the poem affects those who read it.” – Derek Walcott

Nobel laureate Walcott, born in January, 1930, was a Saint Lucian poet and playwright whose works include the Homeric epic poem Omeros, which many critics view "as his major achievement.       Besides the Nobel, Walcott received many literary awards including an Obie for his play Dream on Monkey Mountain, a MacArthur Foundation "genius" award, a Royal Society of Literature Award, and the inaugural OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature.  Walcott said he never separated the writing of poetry from prayer.  “I have grown up believing it a vocation,” he said (shortly before his death in 2017), “a religious vocation.”

For Saturday’s Poem, here is Walcott’s,

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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