Not that we would ever want to make Tom Hiddleston cry! It’s just that now we know we can. The actor was asked to contribute to an anthology called Poems That Make Grown Men Cry, and he chose “Love After Love” by Derek Walcott as the work that turns him to mush. It’s an excellent, unexpected choice—not simply a love poem, but a meditation on the difficulty of retaining a sense of self in the face of, well, life.
Hiddleston wrote a brief personal intro for the anthology (which also includes choices from Daniel Radcliffe and Colin Firth!) that is just about as inspiring as the poem itself:
“Most of us are motivated deep down by a sense of insufficiency, a need to be better, stronger, faster; to work harder; to be more committed, more kind, more self-sufficient, more successful. We are driven be a sense that we are not, as we are, ‘enough.’ But this short poem by Derek Walcott is like a declaration of unconditional love. It’s like the embrace of an old friend. We are each of us whole, perfectly imperfect, enough.”
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.