I was walking early this morning past the city cemetery and past the house fronted by what we used call the bottle-wall.
The wall is knee-high, and was so-named for the dozens of old bottles troweled into it’s cement. It’s bottles were long ago broken, (once catastrophically by a car failing to negotiate the turn) and have since been replaced by many small mirrors. Some are just shards, but all are likewise embedded in concrete along its length.
Facing the graveyard, on a thin strip of grass between the wall and the front porch of the unpainted house sits a bench. Hand-painted, with care, on it’s weathered, planked backrest is a poem by Derek Walcott.
(The line breaks as they appear on the bench are not the author’s, due, I imagine, to the restrictions of the medium. I don’t know that the poem suffers for it.)
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. -Derek Walcott