The Poetry of David Whyte
Posted by Gail | Filed under Gail Pleasures
David Whyte was born in November, 1955 and grew up among the hills and valleys of his father’s Yorkshire. He now makes his home in the Pacific Northwest of the United States, but his Irish mother imaginative influence is still at play among his words.
The Lightest Touch
Good poetry begins with
the lightest touch,
a breeze arriving from nowhere,
a whispered healing arrival,
a word in your ear,
a settling into things,
then like a hand in the dark
it arrests the whole body,
steeling you for revelation.
In the silence that follows
a great line
you can feel Lazarus
even the laziest, most deathly afraid
part of you,
lift up his hands and walk toward the light.
David is the author of seven books of poetry and three books of prose, A zoologist by training, he loves to travel, and has worked as a naturalist guide in the Galapagos Islands. He has also lead anthropological and natural history expeditions in the Andes, Amazon and Himalaya. You can see his connection to the natural world reflected in his writing.
Sometimes, you need the ocean light,
and colors you’ve never seen before
painted through an evening sky.
Sometimes you need your God
to be a simple invitation,
not a telling word of wisdom.
Sometimes you need only the first shyness
that comes from being shown things
far beyond your understanding,
so that you can fly and become free
by being still and by being still here.
And then there are times you need to be
brought to ground by touch
and touch alone.
To know those arms around you
and to make your home in the world
just by being wanted.
To see those eyes looking back at you,
as eyes should see you at last,
seeing you, as you always wanted to be seen,
seeing you, as you yourself
had always wanted to see the world.
We shape our self?to fit this world
and by the world?are shaped again.
The visible?and the invisible
working together?in common cause,
to produce?the miraculous.
I am thinking of the way?the intangible air
passed at speed?round a shaped wing
easily?holds our weight.
So may we, in this life
to those elements?we have yet to see
and look for the true
shape of our own self,
by forming it well
to the great?intangibles about us.
It is Not Enough
It is not enough to know.
It is not enough to follow
the inward road conversing in secret.
It is not enough to see straight ahead,
to gaze at the unborn?thinking the silence belongs to you.
It is not enough to hear
even the tiniest edge of rain.
You must go to the place?where everything waits,
there, when you finally rest,?even one word will do,
one word or the palm of your hand?turning outward
in the gesture of gift.
And now we are truly afraid
to find the great silence
asking so little.
One word, one word only.