The Truelove: David Whyte

Walking Water

 

There is a faith in loving fiercely
the one who is rightfully yours
especially if you have
waited years and especially
if part of you never believed
you could deserve this
loved and beckoning hand
held out to you this way.

I am thinking of faith now
and the testaments of loneliness
and what we feel we are
worthy of in this world.

Years ago in the Hebrides
I remember an old man
who walked every morning
on the grey stones
to the shore of baying seals

who would press his hat
to his chest in the blustering
salt wind and say his prayer
to the turbulent Jesus
hidden in the water

and I think of the story
of the storm and everyone
waking and seeing
the distant
yet familiar figure
far across the water
calling to them

and how we are all
preparing for that
abrupt waking,
and that calling,
and that moment
we have to say yes,
except it will
not come so grandly
so Biblically
but more subtly
and intimately in the face
of the one you know
you have to love

so that when
we finally step out of the boat
toward them, we find
everything holds
us, and everything confirms
our courage, and if you wanted
to drown you could,
but you don’t
because finally
after all this struggle
and all these years
you don’t want to any more
you’ve simply had enough
of drowning
and you want to live and you
want to love and you will
walk across any territory
and any darkness
however fluid and however
dangerous to take the
one hand you know
belongs in yours.

 

[From The House of Belonging (Many Rivers Press, 1996)]

St Thomas Didymus [the Twin]: Denise Levertov

And after the empty tomb
when they told me He lived, had spoken to Magdalen,
told me that though he had passed through the door like a ghost
He had breathed on them the breath of a living man—
even then when hope tried with a flutter of wings to lift me—
still, alone with myself, my heavy cry was the same:
Lord, I believe, help my unbelief.

I needed blood to tell me the truth,
the touch of blood.
Even my sight of the dark crust of it round the nailholes
didn’t thrust its meaning all the way through to that manifold knot in me
that willed to possess all knowledge,
refusing to loosen unless that insistence won the battle I fought with life.

But when my hand led by His hand’s firm clasp entered the unhealed wound,
my fingers encountering rib-bone and pulsing heat,
what I felt was not scalding pain, shame for my obstinate need,
but light, light streaming into me, over me,
filling the room as if I had lived till then in a cold cave,
and now coming forth for the first time,
the knot that bound me unravelling,
I witnessed all things quicken to color, to form,
my question not answered but given its part
in a vast unfolding design lit by a risen sun.

Pilgrim: David Whyte

WavePILGRIM

I bow to the lark
and its tiny
lifted silhouette
fluttering
before infinity.
I promise myself
to the mountain
and to the foundation
from which
my future comes.
I make my vow
to the stream
flowing beneath,
and to the water
falling
towards all thirst,
and
I pledge myself
to the sea
to which it goes
and to the mercy
of my disappearance,
and though I may be
left alone
or abandoned by
the unyielding present
or orphaned in some far
unspoken place,
I will speak
with a voice
of loyalty
and faith
to the far shore
where everything
turns to arrival,
if only in the sound
of falling waves
and I will listen
with sincere
and attentive eyes and ears
for a final invitation,
so that I can
be that note half-heard
in the flying lark song,
or that tint
on a far mountain
brushed with the subtle
grey of dawn,
even a river gone by
still looking
as if it hasn’t,
or an ocean heard only
as the sound of waves
falling and falling,
and falling,
my eyes closing
with them
into some
undeserved nothing
even as they
give up their
strength
on the sand.

David Whyte

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