Friday, February 11, 2022

love at all times, of all kinds


Greetings, Poetry Friday venturers! It's getting on for Valentine's Day--an annual celebration which, despite being weighed down with roses & chocolates & sappy Hallmark cards, is among my favorites.  What's not to love about love? Philial, erotic, agape, pragmatic, playful--I find I had some things to learn about the 8 kinds of love identified by the Greeks (yes, I'm directing you to!), and here's one for us all to know:  

PHILAUTIA, self-love...the good kind, the kind where we are compassionate and affectionate to ourselves, which then allows us to truly love others.

On my shelf is a wee British book called 101 Poems That Could Save Your Life: An Anthology of Emotional First Aid (ed. Daisy Goodwin).  Look at that cover and you'll see why I thought of it this morning!  And inside, one of the best poems of philautia I know--maybe you do too.


Love After Love | Derek Walcott

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.

Let us go forth, whatever our relationship status, whatever the state of our routines, our ambitions, our creaky, crooked, creative, colorful bodies, and greet ourselves with love. Linda, the lovely one of TeacherDance, hosts our Poetry Friday lovefest today.


P.S.  If I am slow to comment on your PF posts this weekend, it's because I'm attending the SCBWI Winter Conference online.  Some parts of it are free and open to the public.  See below for a couple of sessions you can attend virtually this evening.

1 pm-2 pm Pacific/4-5 pm Eastern
Orientation for Newcomers with Jolie Stekly
Free and Open to the Public!

2:30 pm-3:15 pm Pacific/5:30 pm-6:15 pm Eastern
Everything Changes, Nothing Ends:
Telling Stories with Brian Selznick
Free and Open to the Public!


  1. Fascinating, Heidi! I'd heard about "agape" (and "eros" and maybe the friendship one) but not philautia. Great poem pick. Also, I like Brian Selznick's session name: "Everything Changes, Nothing Ends."

  2. Nice to read Walcott's poem again. So wise and inspiring. Happy Love Day to you and yours!!

  3. I know the poem. My daughter had him as a teacher at Boston U & she brought me one of his books. It's been a while since I read any of it, but loved it then. I don't know the term "philautia" either, will remember, Heidi. I do like this: "and each will smile at the other's welcome". Have fun at the conference!

  4. Oh! A new word! "Philautia"(I'm going to have to work on the pronunciation though.) What a great poem and a reminder to be gentle with oneself so that one has love and kindness to share. Perhaps we need to be our own breeding ground for kindness in order to create enough to spread it around. Kindness vectors, as it were. Thanks, Heidi!

  5. Heidi, I must be indulging in PHILAUTIA, self-love now because I am lazily sitting in bed reading poetry to my heart's content. I am sorry I missed the free webinars but I was preparing for my own love feast for my grandgirls.

  6. I love this Derek Walcott poem. Thanks for sharing it!

  7. I love that poem. Today these lines
    "the stranger who has loved you
    all your life, whom you ignored"
    made tears jump into my eyes. Maybe a little philautia is needed here...

  8. Thank you for the poetry book reference. I love this poem... even having read it somewhere, it is like a movie that you know the ending to- yet it still moves you deeply.

  9. I am especially late to comment, but I love the message here, Heidi. We are such critics of ourselves. Something about being in my 8th decade (good grief) wisdom seems to clarify so many things. Doing what I love, recognizing that I am OK is a good thing. Nice to see the poem you shared, too.
    Janet Clare F.


Thanks for joining in the wild rumpus!