I want to share something today that is not my own writing, but expresses a comforting truth I so needed to hear today and which brought me to tears. It is taken from an anthology : Poems to Make A Grown Man Cry and the initial paragraphs are written by the English actor Tom Hiddleson, who chose this poem for inclusion in the anthology for the reasons below:
In the madness and mayhem of modern life, where every man seems committed to an endless search for the approval and esteem of his fellows and peers, no matter what the cost this poem reminds me of a basic truth : that we are, as we are, ‘enough’. Most of us are motivated deep down by a sense of insufficiency, a need to be better, stronger, faster; to work harder; to be more committed, more kind, more self sufficient, more successful. We are driven by a sense that we are not as we are ‘enough’.
But this short poem by Derek Walcott is like a declaration of unconditional love. It’s like the embrace of an old friend. We are each of us whole, perfectly imperfect, enough. ‘Feast on your life’ feels like permission, as though Walcott is calling time on all the madness, the mayhem, the insecurity, the neuroses, the drama, and with a big, broad, kind smile, he brings us to an awareness of the present moment, calm and peaceful, and to a feeling of gratitude for everything that we have. I read it to my dearest friends after dinner once, and to my family at Christmas and they started crying. Which always, unfailingly, make me cry.
Love After Love
The time will come
when, with elation,
you will great yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror,
and each will smile at the others 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.