When your eyes are tired the world is tired also. When your vision has gone no part of the world can find you. Time to go into the dark where the night has eyes to recognize its own. There you can be sure you are not beyond love. The dark will be your womb tonight. The night will give you a horizon further than you can see. You must learn one thing. The world was made to be free in. Give up on all other worlds except the one to which you belong. Sometimes it takes darkness and the sweet confinement of your aloneness to learn anything or anyone that does not bring you alive is too small for you.
The poet lives and writes at the frontier between deep internal experience and the revelations of the outer world. There is no going back for the poet once this frontier has been reached; a new territory is visible and what has been said cannot be unsaid. The discipline of poetry is in overhearing yourself say difficult truths from which it is impossible to retreat. Poetry is a break for freedom. In a sense all poems are good; all poems are an emblem of courage and the attempt to say the unsayable; but only a few are able to speak to something universal yet personal and distinct at the same time; to create a door through which others can walk into what previously seemed unobtainable realms, in the passage of a few short lines.
TEN YEARS LATER
When the mind is clear
and the surface of the now still,
now swaying water
the rolling kayak,
I find myself near darkness,
paddling again to Yellow Island.
Every spring wildflowers
cover the grey rocks.
Every year the sea breeze
ruffles the cold and lovely pearls
hidden in the center of the flowers
as if remembering them
by touch alone.
A calm and lonely, trembling beauty
that frightened me in youth.
Now their loneliness
feels familiar, one small thing
I've learned these years,
how to be alone,
and at the edge of aloneness
how to be found by the world.
Innocence is what we allow
to be gifted back to us
once we've given ourselves away.
There is one world only,
the one to which we gave ourselves
utterly, and to which one day
we are blessed to return.
from The House of Belonging
DAVID WHYTE grew up among the hills and valleys of Yorkshire, England. A captivating speaker with a compelling blend of profound poetry and insightful commentary, David Whyte is one of the few poets to take his perspectives on creativity into the field of organizational development, where he works with a diverse international clientele. He holds a degree in Marine Zoology and is the recipient of an Honorary Degree from Neumann College, as well as an Associate Fellow of the Said Business School at the University of Oxford.
In organizational settings, using poetry and thoughtful commentary, he illustrates how we can foster qualities of courage and engagement; qualities needed if we are to respond to today’s call for increased creativity and adaptability in the workplace. He brings a unique and important contribution to our understanding of the nature of individual and organizational change.
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