David Whyte

David
Whyte
1955

English Poet

Author Quotes

Stranger still, it is that wounded, branded, un-forgetting part of us that eventually makes forgiveness an act of compassion rather than one of simple forgetting. To forgive is to assume a larger identity than the person who was first hurt, to mature and bring to fruition an identity that can put its arm, not only around the afflicted one within but also around the memories seared within us by the original blow and through a kind of psychological virtuosity, extend our understanding to one who first delivered it. Forgiveness is a skill, a way of preserving clarity, sanity and generosity in an individual life, a beautiful way of shaping the mind to a future we want for ourselves; an admittance that if forgiveness comes through understanding, and if understanding is just a matter of time and application then we might as well begin forgiving right at the beginning of any drama rather than put ourselves through the full cycle of festering, incapacitation, reluctant healing and eventual blessing.

The Opening of Eyes: After R. S. Thomas That day I saw beneath dark clouds, the passing light over the water and I heard the voice of the world speak out, I knew then, as I had before, life is no passing memory of what has been nor the remaining pages in a great book waiting to be read. It is the opening of eyes long closed. It is the vision of far off things seen for the silence they hold. It is the heart after years of secret conversing, speaking out loud in the clear air. It is Moses in the desert fallen to his knees before the lit bush. It is the man throwing away his shoes as if to enter heaven and finding himself astonished, opened at last, fallen in love with solid ground.

Things have a way of being richer in the end, a product better made, for the circuitous route we take to include all the elements that are necessary for a job well done.

We are each a river with a particular abiding character, but we show radically different aspects of ourself according to the territory through which we travel.

You feel your longing and desires and they do the Work. My whole life has been following my intuition and strange beckonings.

A soulful approach to work is probably the only way an individual can respond creatively to the high-temperature stress of modern work life without burning to a crisp in the heat. It takes the soul's ability to elicit texture, color, story, and meaning from the tumult of events, to meet fire with fire and still have a somewhat restful existence that is capable of wise policy somewhere at the center of it all. The corporation, in calling for a little more creative fire from their people, must make room for a little more soul. Making room for creativity, it must make room for the source of that fire and the hearth where it burns ? the heart and the soul of the individual.

But then we always knew heaven would be a desperate place. Everything you desired coming in one fearful moment to greet you.

Heartbreak is unpreventable; the natural outcome of caring for people and things over which we have no control? Heartbreak begins the moment we are asked to let go but cannot, in other words, it colors and inhabits and magnifies each and every day; heartbreak is not a visitation, but a path that human beings follow through even the most average life. Heartbreak is an indication of our sincerity: in a love relationship, in a life?s work, in trying to learn a musical instrument, in the attempt to shape a better more generous self. Heartbreak is the beautifully helpless side of love and affection and is [an] essence and emblem of care? Heartbreak has its own way of inhabiting time and its own beautiful and trying patience in coming and going.

It is not the thing you fear that you must deal with, it is the mother of the thing you fear. The very thing that has given birth to the nightmare.

Maturity is the ability to live fully and equally in multiple contexts; most especially, the ability, despite our grief and losses, to courageously inhabit the past the present and the future all at once. The wisdom that comes from maturity is recognized through a disciplined refusal to choose between or isolate three powerful dynamics that form human identity: what has happened, what is happening now and what is about to occur.

Read and admire, but then go back to first principles and ask the question yourself, in your own way. Dare to disagree.

Talk In the poetic tradition, the heart's affections are indeed holy, and if organizations are asking for people's hearts and minds, they are asking in a way for their holy and hidden affections at the same time.

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.

Those with busy lives, but bereft of the inner images based on the soul's desires, have empty larders, and no fire in the hearth; they will starve if they are not fed something more nourishing. Especially if the abundant season of fall changes to winter. I remember the story of a Jewish concert pianist, locked into a confined space with dozens of others by the Germans. She survived by playing mentally through her entire repertoire of Chopin while everyone died in a standing position around her. The inner-soul images are different for all of us.

We are each surrounded by an enormous silence that can be a blessing and a help to us, a silence in which the skein of reality is knitted and unraveled to be knit again, in which the perspective of work can be enlarged and enriched. Silence is like a cradle holding our endeavors and our will; a silent spaciousness sustains us in our work and at the same time connects us to larger worlds that, in the busyness of our daily struggle to achieve, we have not yet investigated. Silence is the soul's break for freedom.

You have ripened already, and you are waiting to be brought in. Your exhaustion is a form of inner fermentation. You are beginning, ever so slowly to rot on the vine.

Poetry is a street fighter. It has sharp elbows and can look out after itself.

How do we learn to feel safe beyond the boundaries of what we know?

I see poetry as the courageous act of articulating reality.

Author Picture
First Name
David
Last Name
Whyte
Birth Date
1955
Bio

English Poet