Two Love Poems by Derek Walcott

You might question my designation of this first poem as a love poem but I would counter that a poem need not mention the word “love” to be a love poem. To be precise, though, one might call it a lovelorn poem or a writer’s poem about love and loss. From someone who lives in the Northeast, watching the snow not quite melting on this day before spring, it seems the perfect choice to mourn his passing this weekend.

It’s called “In the Village,” and perhaps the fact that I had the joy and honor of reading with the poets of 2 Bridges Review in the East Village less than two weeks ago, is another reason it resonates so deeply with me today. The text can be found here.

The second poem is one that I recorded before but I was not happy with it. Even this time, I question myself about how I stressed certain words and not others. But I always do that when I read the work of other poets and each reading is its own interpretation. You can find many interpretations on YouTube and elsewhere online of this poem called “Love After Love.”

In the Village

Love After Love

And now the poet and playwright’s book White Egrets sits beside me here at my table this afternoon and his book-length poem Omeros awaits my return on the shelf. The music and tone of his language I can only describe as luminous. We are fortunate that he lived to be 87 and brought so much richness to the world of literature. Read more about the Nobel laureate and his work here and in the following articles.

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3 thoughts on “Two Love Poems by Derek Walcott

  1. Jane Hirshfield’s poem, “Da Capo,” strikes a similar theme. There’s a video of her reading it, but I found it disappointing. I wanted her to slow down, way down, on those last two lines which knock me over every time.

    Take the used-up heart like a pebble
    and throw it far out.

    Soon there is nothing left.
    Soon the last ripple exhausts itself
    in the weeds.

    Returning home, slice carrots, onions, celery.
    Glaze them in oil before adding
    the lentils, water, and herbs.

    Then the roasted chestnuts, a little pepper, the salt.
    Finish with goat cheese and parsley. Eat.
    You may do this, I tell you, it is permitted.
    Begin again the story of your life.

    Liked by 1 person

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