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Love After Love Analysis



Author: poem of Derek Walcott Type: poem Views: 49

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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.





Anonymous submission.






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||| Analysis | Critique | Overview Below |||

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This poem is clearly a re-working of the spiritual 17th Century poem by George Herbert titled simply: Love
Here's the Herbert poem:
LOVE bade me welcome; yet my soul drew back,
 
      Guilty of dust and sin.
 
But quick-eyed Love, observing me grow slack
 
      From my first entrance in,
 
Drew nearer to me, sweetly x I lack'd anything.
 
 
'A guest,' I answer'd, 'worthy to be here:'
 
     Love said, 'You shall be he.'
 
'I, the unkind, ungrateful? Ah, my dear,
 
      I cannot look on Thee.'
  10
Love took my hand and smiling did reply,
 
      'Who made the eyes but I?'
 
 
'Truth, Lord; but I have marr'd them: let my shame
 
      Go where it doth deserve.'
 
'And know you not,' says Love, 'Who bore the x dear, then I will serve.'
 
'You must sit down,' says Love, 'and taste my meat.'
 
      So I did sit and eat.

| Posted on 2017-03-18 | by a guest


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I believe the poem encourages you to recognise and make peace with your own previous rejection, denial and abandonment of yourself. It is showing you can now accept, enjoy and love yourself and your life. You are now free from past traumas. LWe, 2.1.16

| Posted on 2016-01-01 | by a guest


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진짜 좋은신데 학교에서 한다는것이 흠이다. 또한 지루하며 그렇게 좋은시는 아닌거같다. 전여자친구가 자꾸 생각나는 시이기도 하다

| Posted on 2015-11-03 | by a guest


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I agree with Self acceptance, to me its about how we start off when we're young completely at ease with ourselves but as we grow and get lost in the whims of the world and trying to please other people we lose ourselves and we ignore who we really are and what we really want.
I really like how he has separated who were really are from how we live our lives, like our true self is a constant bystander watching what we're doing.

| Posted on 2015-05-13 | by a guest


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Self Love - In our pursuit for self love we only identify the 'good' parts within us and try to love those bits. But what about that darkness within us all that we turn our faces away from. We are so ashamed of that part that we don't even acknowledge its existence and live a life of lie. I think this poems lets us try to accept all that is part of us. Not just the good bits but accept ourselves wholly and fully. In trying to see through our darkness we may easily understand the darkness in others. The darkness when brought to light may help us to fine tune our balance and to become whole again.

| Posted on 2015-03-10 | by a guest


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I feel that this poem is about self-love and self-compassion and finding your your way home to yourself. Being at home means truly loving yourself with all your faults, self acceptance : Feast on your life. Being finally at peace with your inner being.

| Posted on 2014-12-07 | by a guest


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For me this poem implies that throughout life we are searching for meaning: of why are we here; who am I; what is my purpose? etc..,I feel Walcott uses his mixed heritage as an analogy & as a platform to asking the deeper question: what is the purpose that God has put me on this earth for? Give wine, give bread: last supper before Christ sacrifices himself & takes away the sins of the world. We are forgiven in our search for meaning outside of God; for all our attempts to turn our backs on the stranger that was your true self - Jesus & the Christ nature within - and who 'knows you by heart' We're welcomed 'home'.... Celebrate and feast on all that God has made you to be...

| Posted on 2014-05-08 | by a guest


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To me, this poem reflects self-compassion. Take yourself back, accepting all your flaws and weaknesses. Invite yourself in, like an old friend that you have missed for so long. Sit and love being with yourself.Laugh and share. Be at peace again. Take down all that you thought was negative about yourself and learn to love the person that you are. When you do, it will be like you have found your best friend again. The one who knows you, loves you and has been with you always. Then embrace your own company and celebrate you lfe and your self.

| Posted on 2013-11-11 | by a guest


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I think that this poem is about letting go of your past memories such as ex lovers and bad obstacles that you have faced in life. it is about focusing on the good things that you have achieved and looking forward in your life. it also explains how you have to learn to love yourself before you love someone else.

| Posted on 2013-09-02 | by a guest


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The poem is about returning to the true self, the self that existed before the ego developed, before we took on the many masks and pretences of who we wanted to be, thought we should be or were taught we should become.

| Posted on 2013-03-05 | by a guest


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i think it reflects that only in death(not literally)are we born and able to see the selves we could be.i think that this can happen over and over again in ones life time.we grow and are able to look back at the person we were and recognize the change and embrace that change.ultimatly,i think the poem is about learning to love yourself

| Posted on 2012-12-30 | by a guest


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it\'s about self love, how it happens in time, at it\'s own perfect pace. it\'s about coming out of hurt/hatred and figuring out how to understand yourself.

| Posted on 2012-05-19 | by a guest


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it\'s about self love, how it happens in time, at it\'s own perfect pace. it\'s about coming out of hurt/hatred and figuring out how to understand yourself.

| Posted on 2012-05-19 | by a guest


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I think it is a hopeful poem about our resiliency to find ourselves after being lost or in great pain. it is also about the joy and celebration of knowing you are once again yourself. the hope lies in its confident tone that finding yourself again. if lost. will happen.

| Posted on 2012-01-20 | by a guest


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The first thing that came to my mind the first time I read it was.
That Life is a journey, and as it states in the beginning \"The time will come\"...
I think the time will come when we return(DIE)to self. \"You will love again, the stranger who was yourself\" In that Journey, we get lost, we forget our mission, our purpose...we are derailed by heartaches, by disappointments...but in death we return to that PERFECT self that send us out into that Journey...Ahhhh...I just love this poem!! LOVE IT!

| Posted on 2011-11-25 | by a guest


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Once you were lost and only after heartbreak did you realise just how lost you were. This poem(in my opinion)is about finally reconnecting, rediscovering and learning to love yourself once more. It can be interpreted with a biblical meaning, a colonial meaning (as suggested above) or it can be about finding love. beauty is in the eye of the beholder, everyone see\'s things differently and is entitled to an opinion and belief. i dont believe that anyone is perfect, or will ever be. we\'re all different and all have a different definition of perfection. after learning how to love yourself, only then can you truely love someone else.

| Posted on 2011-10-16 | by a guest


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The magic of poetry is demonstrated by the power that so many people have expressed in their responses to this poem. I have reveled in those responses, tying them to thoughts about the experiences of the reader who posted them. I lost my wife of thirty seven years after a four and a half year battle with brain cancer. Five years later, I am reconnecting with myself. Not someone who has always been some archetypal true self, but the self that has been forged by life experience, and released upon the world - alone, searching. For one such as I they poem describes, directs, even demands the process I am going through of getting comfortable with who I am NOW, with my experience, skills and potential.

| Posted on 2011-06-24 | by a guest


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I don\'t think it has anything to do with religion. It seems to just be saying that you lose yourself sometimes and its good to love yourself. You shouldn\'t always worry about the past. Move forward and love yourself.

| Posted on 2011-05-04 | by a guest


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this poem is about rediscovering who you are. It\'s about self love, reuniting with yourself.

| Posted on 2011-05-04 | by a guest


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The references to religion and Christianity are prominent in the second stanza through the \'love thy neighbour\' references. Namely, \'And say sit here. Eat\', and, \'the stranger who has loved you\'. Theses are mixed in with references to himself, making it not clear who he is referring to. God, thy neighbour or himself. Probably a mixture/combination of the three.

| Posted on 2011-04-30 | by a guest


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The speaker makes this poem seem as if it’s advising the readers to find the real person inside them, the person that will always “smile” at your welcome. He does this by using command words. “Sit” “feast” “eat” and “greet” are a few of the verbs he uses. Walcott is telling the reader what to do, just as you would when you are advising somebody. The command verbs makes the reader feel as if they must do what the he is asking them to do. The slow tone to this poem adds to the reassurance and comforts the reader, again something you would find in an advice piece.

| Posted on 2011-03-13 | by a guest


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I really love this poem, and have enjoyed reading the various interpretations on this site. Whilst researching another topic this evening, I came across another poem, which I think may shed some light on Walcott\'s poem.
The Man in the Glass
Dale Wimbrow, Copyrighted in 1934
When you get what you want in your struggle for self
And the world makes you king for a day,
Just go to a mirror and look at yourself,
And see what that man has to say.
For it isn\'t your father or mother or wife,
Who judgement upon you must pass;
The fellow whose verdict counts most in your life
Is the one staring back from the glass.
He\'s the fellow to please, never mind all the rest.
For he\'s with you clear up to the end,
And you\'ve passed the most dangerous, difficult test
If the man in the glass is your friend.
You may fool the whole world down the pathway of years.
And get pats on the back as you pass,
But your final reward will be heartache and tears
If you\'ve cheated the man in the glass.

| Posted on 2011-02-26 | by a guest


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I agree with the idea that the poem relates to Christianity. I feel as though the speaker is expressing how at one point in time, he/she turned away from God and started living a life dedicated to a lesser God. I feel that this poem is about rekindling one\'s relationship with Him and being able to finally live the life He created the speaker to live.

| Posted on 2010-12-15 | by a guest


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i personally think the poem love after love is about a person who was possibly in a relationship and it didn’t go very well, they may have made mistakes, but after time they have learnt to forgive there self and is ready to move on and love there self again. I think it’s about self-discovery and getting rid of the emotional leftovers, and leaving the past behind you. It could also be to do with religion because it says ‘Give wine. Give bread.’ –so they may have made a mistake against their religion and they may be trying to connect with God. The poem could also represent love and hatred, as the person has forgotten about thereself and is learning to reconnect with thereself. The poem could mean that whatever happens to you bad or good, you should love yourself and never neglect as you could forget your true self.

| Posted on 2010-12-08 | by a guest


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I personally feel that this poem is about self discovery and identity as Derek walcott creates an ironic image of you greeting yourself at your own door. i feel that Walcott is trying to convey the idea of some where in life you are isolated from your own self, and therefore, there comes a time where you will re-join with your self. Moreover, i also believe that this poem is mostly about religion due to the use of imperatives such as \'give bread, give wine\' this first thought that comes to our minds after reading this quote is Religion and jesus: therefore i feel that this poem is about comfronting yourself at the end of the world-(judjment day), this idea is reinforced when the writer says at the end of the poem \'feast on your life\'.

| Posted on 2010-11-08 | by a guest


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There is no right or wrong in this poem.
I think it\'s about a person who was in a relationship and he made a mistake and \"the time will come\" when he learns to forgive himself and love himself once again. It\'s all about self discovery and getting rid of the emotional baggage. Leaving the past behind you.
....In my opinion anyway

| Posted on 2010-11-03 | by a guest


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I agree with you all. The poem is about learning whatever lesson you have to learn that leads you back to the true strength and beauty of yourself and heritage. I particularly like the interpretation of forgiving yourself, and the idea that one becomes alienated from one\'s true child self after years of abuse, judgement, neglect etc. Feasting on one\'s life is about living again, through self-rediscovery, and through the discovery that peace cannot be found in life, unless one can be at peace with oneself, both feeding and being fed by one\'s own godliness.

| Posted on 2010-10-18 | by a guest


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I think the poem is about self discovery. And that he/she is trying to reconnect to themselves. It is symbolic to christinanity because of the line \'Give wine. Give Bread\'
im sorry if i have got this wrong i am only 15 and this is what i think of the poem

| Posted on 2010-10-07 | by a guest


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This poem is about our oneness, it\'s about everything outside of us is a reflection of who we are inside, we get in return what we give out to the world. It\'s about our collective conscious. Love is the greatest energy, and it overrides all other energies. When we give out love we get love in return. Love after love.

| Posted on 2010-08-03 | by a guest


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Walcott's great poem, "Omeros," draws on the Homeric mythos (stories) of the Iliad and the Odyssey. Themes in these include the sacredness of hospitality, the welcome to the stranger beloved by Zues as all strangers are, the offering of bread and wine, the invitation to speak and the giving of one's story. Perhaps in "Love After Love," some of the images are echoes of the trajectory of lives, ourselves and our world journeying on from where we began, and like Eliot, returning to our beginning and knowing them for the first time?

| Posted on 2010-03-13 | by a guest


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This is not about lover after loving another. It about connecting with your true self after it has been obscured by chasing after and feeding your ego, your false self.

| Posted on 2010-02-19 | by a guest


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All opinions are correct in the sense that this poem is highly ambigous; which is what English is all about. Personally, I believe this poem is about traditions and about being kind and true to yourself. Throughout the poem we are constantly reminded to slow down and think about our lives. The poem has a genuine 'slow' feel to it, and the use of commands set as caesuras make you feel as if you must do what Walcott is saying. To me, the poem is about a person who is of two different cultures and getting the balance between respecting the two is vital to your self importance. I get the feeling that one culture has been taking over the other and you need to welcome the neglected culture back into your life. The other culture will be loved and respected by feasting and getting in touch with it. The religious aspects of: 'Give wine. Give bread' symbolise the last supper of Jesus, so really it is about self-sacrafice and being kind to yourself by doing something personally liberating. The tradition has been ignored and another culture has taken over and now seems like that is your life now. You need to get rid of some of the aspects of the dominating culture and accept the original culture again, however this can be done, shown by the run-on lines in the sense that 'life goes on'. The repitition of 'mirror' is again about seeing who you are and where you belong. The whole thing is about analysing your life and deciding where it is you really belong.

| Posted on 2010-01-12 | by a guest


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I disagree with you all.
Why do you presume that "the stranger who was yourself" is you? This is not a poem about reconnecting with oneself. This is a poem about reconnecting with the one you love - that is, your true self. There is no greater meaning of 'self' than a self shared between two people. Only when an existence is shared can it be fully appreciated.
You've got to be prepared to read more into this poem than at first you would like to; otherwise you'll never get back with the person you're meant to be with.

| Posted on 2009-11-11 | by a guest


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Most people here are only skimming the surface of this poem and only touching upon the literal meaning. Yes, it is incredibly obvious that Walcott is writing about reconnecting with yourself after giving so much to someone else. But what about on a contextual basis? Walcott is known for his unique poems about the unification of the two sides of his self - the traditional 'black' side and the post-colonial 'white' side. Coming from a racially mixed family, many of Walcott's poems including this one are about the reconciliation between the two sides. It is well known that other contemporary afro-caribbean poets are only concerned with the embracing of only their 'black' heritage and completely ignoring the post-colonial aspect. Walcott believes that they must embrace the two sides as they are both equally important to who they are. Hence 'Love After Love' is an extended metaphor for the re-uniting between the two sides "give wine, give bread, give back your heart to itself to the stranger who has loved you". This quote is a beautiful representation of the overriding theme of the poem. Calling the 'white' side a stranger, demonstrates the neglect Walcott feels his fellow contemporaries have been showing. Saying that they should "give back your heart" illustrates Walcotts desire for reconciliation.

| Posted on 2009-10-30 | by a guest


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This poem is about finding who you really are and eventually he or she does. It is expressing love as he or she might have come out of a relationship.

| Posted on 2009-09-30 | by a guest


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about finding inner self. how to find da inner self of a person. he is advisin us myb 4rm experience, he may hv been heart broken
| Posted on 2009-06-03 | by a guest
LEARN TO SPELL DUMBY

| Posted on 2009-07-06 | by a guest


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In many ways we are the love of one's own life. We cannot forget ourselves, even when we neglect ourselves for another. We must return with gratitude to the home we have, within our self. This could be after a heartbreak, after trauma or pain (in childhood or adulthood), or after any period of self neglect.

| Posted on 2009-06-11 | by a guest


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about finding inner self. how to find da inner self of a person. he is advisin us myb 4rm experience, he may hv been heart broken

| Posted on 2009-06-03 | by a guest


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this poem is about not likeing your self when you are younger and that when you look back on your life you will not be a stranger to your self anymore you will no u. and look back and like your self says you should always live life to full and enoys your self put your self first.

| Posted on 2009-06-01 | by a guest


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this poem is about not likeing your self when you are younger and that when you look back on your life you will not be a strabger to your self anymore you will no u and look back and lke your self says you should lways live life to full and eoys your self put yoir self first.

| Posted on 2009-06-01 | by a guest




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