Remembering Derek Walcott
For the past four weeks or so I've been enrolled in a Gratefulness course through The Awake Network, the heartchild of Brother David Steindl-Rast.
This week's guest speaker was Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn, the "father" of MBSR (Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction). The day was heartbreakingly important because it marked the one-year anniversary of George Floyd's murder by Derek Chauvin.
I appreciated Kabat-Zinn naming the horror of it.
To end his talk he read a poem by the Caribbean poet, Derek Walcott (1930-2017); someone with whom for several years I was obsessed:
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.
The poem that Kabat-Zinn shared, "Love After Love," reminded me of why I love Walcott so much. It also sent me down a mini rabbit hole to everything Walcott.
What I found was a wonderful interview with Walcott about the necessity of ritual:
I also found a poem that I read over and over again for inspiration while I was in graduate school: "The Sea is History."