The Fist by Derek Walcott

The fist clenched round my heart

loosens a little, and I gasp

brightness; but it tightens

again. When have I ever not loved

the pain of love? But this has moved


past love to mania. This has the strong

clench of the madman, this is

gripping the ledge of unreason, before

plunging howling into the abyss.


Hold hard then, heart. This way at least you live.



Wow. This poem by Derek Walcott is a new favorite because of how intensely it captures these feelings of infatuation that can catch you at any moment. The movie Love, Actually has a scene like this. The little boy has admitted to his stepfather that he’s been quiet and withdrawn because he’s in love. Relieved, his step-dad ruffles his hair, saying he thought it was something worse. The boy, puzzled, responds with “worse than the total agony of being in love?” And sometimes yeah, total agony is the best way to describe it. But sometimes its comforting to know that you’re not alone in feeling that way.