2 Love After Love The time will come When, with elation, You will greet yourself arrivingAt 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 yourself.Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heartTo itself, to a stranger who has loved youAll your life, whom you ignoredFor another, who knows you by heart.Take down the love-letters from the bookshelf.The photographs, the desperate notes,Peel your own images from the mirror.Sit. Feast on your life.
3 Content: This poem has several possible interpretations: Human relationships: in our lives we have to deny our true selves in order to satisfy the conditions for loving another person and in later life we have the chance to live for ourselves.Self-discovery: throughout our life we create an image of ourselves based on what we think we ought to be. The poem suggests that a time will come when we can be honest with ourselves and not worry about how we are perceived.
4 Religious: according to the Bible, humans were created in the image of God; and Christ, the son of God, was formed in the image of humans. The time will come when we will put aside love of earthly things and will commune with our saviour whom we will recognise in ourselves (mirrors, images, bread and wine).Autobiographical: Derek Walcott could be writing about returning to his roots on a West Indian island, finding himself steeped in Western culture this could be symbolic of him finding his identity.Sad: Some may say the poem is rather sad as it reflects a sense of waste that it has taken so long to have confidence to love him/herself, instead of seeking the approval of others.
5 You will greet yourself arriving At your own door, in your own mirror, A forecast when this event will occur.Enjambment used to suggest a momentof contemplation. Saying oftenheard, sometimes suggesting a worry.The time will comeWhen, with elation,You will greet yourself arrivingAt your own door, in your own mirror,And each will smile at the other’s welcome,A moment of great happiness.Tone is celebratoryThe personal pronouns are used to suggest that this is about wanting to findyourself again.
6 You will love again the stranger who was yourself. And say sit here. Eat.You will love again the stranger who was yourself.Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heartTo itself, to a stranger who has loved youRepetition, emphasisingthat somewhere along theway we lose ourselves.Command.Religious ref.but also aninvitation toget to know yourself once again.It is sometimes saidthat a stranger canlove you more thansomeone you knowreally well becausethey see you forwhat or who youreally are.
7 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 images from the mirror.Sit. Feast on your life.Suggests we ignore whowe are to suit others, whenwe are the only ones whocan truly love ourselves.Ambiguous;stripping awaythe past andstarting afreshor, having foundoneself, theability to recalland review one’slife in anappreciativemanner.No regrets.
8 Structure:Written in second person (you) – as if the poet addresses the reader directly.Full of imperative verbs “sit”, “give”, “eat”, “take” and “feast” which are commands.Repetitions of “give”, “love”, “stranger” and “life” emphasising their importance.Verse form is irregular but most lines are loosely iambic.Enjambment creates a loose, happy flow.