Poetry by David Whyte

Time to go into the dark 
by David Whyte 

. . . 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 

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 all the 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. 

Imagine my Surprise 
by David Whyte  

Imagine my surprise, 
sitting a full hour 
in silent and irremediable 
fear in the world 

to find the body 
its own fear the instant 
it opened and placed 
its unassuming hands 
on life’s enduring pain 

and the world for one 
closed its terrifying eyes 
in gratitude 

“This is my body, I am found.” 

Tilicho Lake 
by David Whyte 

In the high place 
it is as simple as this, 
leave everything you know behind. 

Step toward the cold surface, 
say the old prayer of rough love 
and open both arms. 

Those who come with empty hands 
will stare into the lake astonished, 
there, in the cold light 
reflecting pure snow 

the true shape of your own face.  

Everything Is Waiting For You 
(After Derek Mahon)  
by David Whyte 

Your great mistake is to act the drama 
as if you were alone. As if life 
were a progressive and cunning crime 
with no witness to the tiny hidden 
transgressions. To feel abandoned is to deny 
the intimacy of your surroundings. Surely, 
even you, at times, have felt the grand array; 
the swelling presence, and the chorus, crowding 
out your solo voice. You must note 
the way the soap dish enables you, 
or the window latch grants you freedom. 
Alertness is the hidden discipline of familiarity. 
The stairs are your mentor of things 
to come, the doors have always been there 
to frighten you and invite you, 
and the tiny speaker in the phone 
is your dream-ladder to divinity. 

Put down the weight of your aloneness and ease into 
the conversation. The kettle is singing 
even as it pours you a drink, the cooking pots 
have left their arrogant aloofness and 
seen the good in you at last. All the birds 
and creatures of the world are unutterably 
themselves. Everything is waiting for you. 

The House of Belonging 
by David Whyte 

I awoke 
this morning 
in the gold light 
turning this way 
and that 

thinking for 
a moment it was one 
like any other. 

the veil had gone 
from my 
darkened heart 
I thought 

it must have been the quiet 
that filled my room 

it must have been 
the first 
easy rhythm 
with which I breathed 
myself to sleep 

it must have been 
the prayer I said 
speaking to the othersness 
of the night 

I thought 
this is the good day 
you could 
meet your love 

this is the black day 
someone close 
to you could die. 

this is the day 
you realize 
how easily the thread 
is broken 
between this world 
and the next 

and I found myself 
sitting up 
in the quiet pathway 
of light. 

The tawny 
close grained cedar 
burning round 
me like fire 
and all the angels of this housley 
heaven ascending 
through the first 
roof of light 
the sun had made. 

This is the bright home 
in which I live 
this is where 
I ask 
my friends 
to come 
this is where I want 
to love all the things 
it has taken me so long 
to learn to love. 

This is the temple 
of my adult aloneness 
and I belong to that aloneness 
as I belong to my life. 

There is no house 
like the house of belonging.