The main idea of the poem is about looking back on your life and feasting upon what you have achieved, “Feast on your life.” I further believe that the poem is about finding your inner self and getting to know the inside of you that you have once known but lost. A key theme of identity revolves around the poem.
The poem is about a person who is destined to greet their inner self.
Their inner self is a ‘person’ who has been forgotten over time but now these ‘two people’ must discover each other once again.
The author has not only used a single metaphor he has used an extended metaphor throughout the poem. In the poem Derek Walcott talks about his life, past and present. Instead of simply describing his past life he uses another person (a stranger) to show it. We therefore have two people in the poem, when really we only have one person talking about two different parts of one person’s life.
Certain words in the poem are used to emphasise a point. The word ‘will’ shows that something is destined to happen and there is nothing that can be done to stop it. ‘Elation’ shows that this thing is going to be a good thing and will be greeted with great excitement. Repetition is used in the poem; an example of this is, “at your own door, in your own mirror.” I believe repetition has been used as it emphasises the fact that it is your ‘own’.
We are given a religious imagery when Derek Walcott says, “Give wine. Give bread.” The word ‘stranger’ (line 7 + 9) implies that these two people do not know each other; they are two new people meeting for the first time. The line “Take down the love letters from the bookshelf, the photographs, the desperate notes,” I believe is further backing up the earlier point of never regretting and living for the future. If you have bad memories then there is no reason for keeping them, as they will only cause pain.
I believe Derek Walcott is trying to tell the reader that they should celebrate their life, live for the future and not regret things that have happened in the past. “Peel your own image from the mirror.” This line ties in with the theme of greeting someone (himself) whom he has once loved and known but overtime has forgotten.
I believe this line is telling the reader to ‘peel’ away the image they see in the mirror and look inside them self, to find their real identity. This linking again back to one of the key themes.
I believe that Derek Walcott has been very clever in the way he has delivered his poem across to the audience. It has been done in such a way that the reader has to think into the poem and from this they can interpret it in their own ways. This therefore makes the poem more interesting then a simple poem, where everything is clear and straightforward.
In my own opinion I did not really enjoy studying the poem, I found it hard to come to grips with the use of an extended metaphor. I believe that the poem is an excellent poem, as it has a meaning behind it and a message that it gets across; but I believe this poem was not to my personal taste.