still-lived memory

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Cleave
David Whyte

To hold together and to split apart
at one and the same time,
like the shock of being born,
breathing in this world
while lamenting for the one we’ve left.

No one needs to tell us
we are already on our onward way,
no one has to remind us
of our everyday and intimate
embrace
with disappearance.

We were born saying goodbye
to what we love,
we were born
in a beautiful reluctance,
not quite ready
to breathe in this new world,
we are here and we are not,
we are present while still not
wanting to admit we have arrived.

Not quite arrived in our minds
yet always arriving in the body,
always growing older
while trying to grow younger,
always in the act
of catching up,
of saying hello
or saying goodbye
finding strangely,
in each new and imagined future
the still-lived memory
of a previous,
precious life.

Photo by chuttersnap on Unsplash

wished for something else

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The Well of Grief
David Whyte
Those who will not slip beneath
the still surface on the well of grief,

turning down through its black water
to the place we cannot breathe,

will never know the source from which we drink,
the secret water, cold and clear,

nor find in the darkness glimmering,

the small round coins,
thrown by those who wished for something else.

sweet darkness

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For J.

Sweet Darkness
David Whyte
When your eyes are tired
the world is tired also.

When your vision has gone,
no part of the world can find you.

It’s 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 home
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 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.