An Exploration of Sacred Parenting and Education

Love After Love

In Food & Cooking on February 22, 2013 at 9:38 am

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 ~

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  1. Reflections…

    This is such a rich poem – I continue to work with it every time I read it. To begin with, the words are simple yet the meaning is profound. We need more poets who can write like this – from this place of heart and soul.. and not sacrifice depth and beauty of simplicity for eloquence.

    The poem reminds me that the soul needs its food and that we live amidst a Mystery yet are oblivious to it. Sometimes, I feel I glimpse it in seeing my 3 year old son smile, my daughter looking at me through her glasses or my wife just being herself. The profound mystery we seem to have forgotten and which is so awesome it turns our life’s journey into something the soul can feast on, is also describes beautifully in a poem by Ibn Arabi’s:

    Listen, dear one, My voice is within you.
    I’ve called you so often and you have not heard me

    I am the will between the seen and the Unseen.
    Through Me you find yourself, why do you flee Me? …

    Others love you for themselves, not who you really are.
    Love Me, love Me alone, love yourself in Me.

    I am the fragrance within every fragrance.
    I am the savor within every savor.
    You have not smelled Me and you have not tasted.

    Let nothing possess you, nothing in any world.
    Be Mine, be for Me, as you are in Me.

    Dearly beloved, this way leads to union.
    All separation dissolves like a shadow.

    Let’s go hand in hand into the court of Truth.
    Let Truth place its imprint on us forever.

    (Mp3 version available http://sufism.org/poems/listen-2)

    Both poems speak of tasting. It is precisely our dhawq (tasting) which gives degrees of certainty; ilm yaqeen, ‘ayn-ul yaqeen & haqq ul yaqeen. In going back and reading over ‘the desperate notes’ as the poem suggests, it seems like the reader is waking up to their life as they discover their authentic self. At times, one may project the higher self on another, normally the Shiekh. In my experience, a mature Shiekh is aware of this and would take the student back to him/herself.

    The theme of the stranger and the mirror is always an interesting one. But who can be a mirror? In the Islamic tradition there is a saying “The faithful is the mirror of the faithful” when we consider one of the Divine Names is also The Faithful, the saying carries some interesting implications. Very rarely, in my journey, have I met somebody so empty of themselves, the were able to act as a mirror to me. I once met a dervish named Wakeel in the Netherlands. Meeting him was like meeting the stranger described in this poem; it seemed like there was no other. If I write any further, I may be misunderstood or even offend some readers.

    Conversely, I have seen people trying to mirror either through their writings or otherwise. If the person is on a spiritual path, which tends to be the case, as explained to me by my teacher, this is nothing but an ego trip. This to me is them projecting their own opinion of what is rather then reflecting the reality of it. It’s easy to spot because the actions of the ego are from the ego and not through it – hence it never reaches the heart.

    God knows best ~ Allahu alam

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