POEMS

        Autobiography in Five Chapters

 

 

I.       I walk down the street.

         There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

         I fall in.

         I am lost . . . I am hopeless

         It isn't my fault.

         It takes forever to find a way out.

 

II.      I walk down the same street.

         There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

         I pretend I don't see it.

         I fall in again.

         I can't believe I'm in the same place

         But it isn't my fault.

         It still takes a long time to get out.

 

III.     I walk down the same street.

         There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

         I see it is there.

         I still fall in . . . it's a habit.

         My eyes are open

         I know where I am

         It is my fault.

         I get out immediately.

 

IV.     I walk down the same street.

         There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

         I walk around it.

 

V.      I walk down another street.

 

 

         Portia Nelson

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 have 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.

 

“Love After Love” from Collected Poems 1948-1984

by Derek Walcott. 

Copyright 1986 by Derek Walcott.

Wanting Creature

 

I said to the wanting creature inside me:

What is this river you want to cross?

There are no travelers on the river road, and no road.

Do you see anyone moving about on that bank, or resting?

There is no river at all, and no boat, and no boatman.

There is no towrope either, and no one to pull it.

There is no ground, no sky, no time, no bank, no ford!

 

And there is no body, and no mind!

Do you believe there is some place that will make the

         soul less thirsty?

In that great absence you will find nothing…

 

Be strong then, and enter into your own body;

there you have a solid place for your feet.

Think about it carefully!

Don’t go off somewhere else!

 

Kabir says this: just throw away all thoughts of

         imaginary things,

and stand firm in that which you are.

 

 

Kabir, The Kabir Book, trans. Robert Bly