Poetry is an important part of my life so I often manage to place a poem or two in my blog posts. Since April is National Poetry Month, I wanted to dedicate this whole post to one of the most meaningful and transformational poems I have ever read. This poem appeared in my life during a precarious life transition. I was experiencing what I call these uncertain periods in time, a Hecate waiting at the crossroads moment. You know what I’m talking about: those times where everything is changing, your world is spinning too quickly, and you are at a loss for which path to follow next. Total darkness. As I often do, I turned to poetry to help me find my way through this metaphorical wilderness. This poem came to me and immediately began to heal what needed to be healed within me. I made it through hell and actually ended up stronger, having more strength than I ever knew I had. I discovered my true, authentic Self and I allowed everything that wasn’t a healthy part of this Self to fall away. It’s been quite a journey, lonely and difficult at times, but I wouldn’t trade anything for the lessons I’ve learned or the scars I’ve earned. Poetry never disappoints, it has proven to be a reliable guide during dark times. I can also say the same for Hecate and her torches.
‘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.
I keep this poem pinned to a corkboard by my writing desk as a daily reminder to “feast on my life.” I suggest that you read it slowly several times. Let the words sink in to your inner being. Really sink in. I hope it will give you back your heart and help you find your way back home to your Self. Or at least point you in the right direction. We are all fellow travelers.
Blessings on your journey.
Listen to actor Tom Hiddleston read ‘Love After Love’ on NPR’s Weekend Edition Sunday. You will also find more information on the brilliant Derek Walcott who passed away last month at the age of 87.
For more information on Hecate and transitional stages in life see the work of Jean Shinoda Bolen. Her website is jeanshinodabolen.com.