“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.

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 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.

~ “Sweet Darkness,” David Whyte, The House of Belonging

A Very Whyte Sunday

first spring flowers

This was a week of cakes, walks, settling into myself some more, and some unexpected changes that though bittersweet make me think of how beginnings need endings too.

What To Remember When Waking
David Whyte, The House of Belonging

In that first
hardly noticed
moment
in which you wake,
coming back
to this life
from the other
more secret,
moveable
and frighteningly
honest
world
where everything
began,
there is a small
opening
into the day
which closes
the moment
you begin
your plans.

What you can plan
is too small
for you to live.

What you can live
wholeheartedly
will make plans
enough
for the vitality
hidden in your sleep.

To be human
is to become visible
while carrying
what is hidden
as a gift to others.

To remember
the other world
in this world
is to live in your
true inheritance.

You are not
a troubled guest
on this earth,
you are not
an accident
amidst other accidents
you were invited
from another and greater night
than the one
from which
you have just emerged.

Now, looking through
the slanting light
of the morning
window toward
the mountain
presence
of everything
that can be,
what urgency
calls you to your
one love? What shape
waits in the seed
of you to grow
and spread
its branches
against a future sky?

Is it waiting
in the fertile sea?
In the trees
beyond the house?
In the life
you can imagine
for yourself?
In the open
and lovely
white pages
on the waiting desk?

~*~

Everything Is Waiting For You
David Whyte, Everything is Waiting for You

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 sweeping 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.

~*~

~ Have a good week everyone!

Talking Through A Post Comprised of Bullet Points (NYPL, Neil Gaiman, Cecilia Grant, Charles Yu & David Whyte)

1.

Schwarzman Building - NYPL

Schwarzman Building – NYPL
Credits: Juhi @ Nooks & Crannies

So the relative silence was due to some upheavals in my life. I’m now a baby New Yorker and so far I’m in love with the city. One of the best things it has to offer? The New York Public Library! Where one can borrow up to 50 books at a time. And from where I always borrow more books than I can possibly read at any given time. Which leads to the pleasurable task of deciding which book to renew and which to finish right away. And oh of course, the putting of books on hold and then checking up on them to track their progress as they make their way to me! As you can see, all momentous tasks that I have to tend to with utmost gravity and precision.

The NYPL also includes the gorgeous Schwarzman building with its two majestic lions, Patience and Fortitude, guarding the entrance to the hallowed world within. The marble halls, the intricate woodwork and the hand-painted mural ceilings are a sight to behold. I am in awe of there being a public space of such beauty.

2.

I finally read Neil Gaiman. The Graveyard Book to be precise. At first, I couldn’t figure out what the big deal was – most likely because my childhood was tethered to the adventure stories and mystery tales of Enid Blyton sans ghostly fables that took off on flights of imagination and otherworldliness.

I couldn’t connect to the tale emotionally. The whole premise was too alien and I was not really interested in finding out why Jack wanted to kill Nobody Owens. Or who the mysterious Silas was. And yet, halfway through the story I looked up and discovered that I had become so engrossed that it was past the time to get back to my chores. Something had clicked. The strangeness of it all was suddenly not so, well, strange anymore – I was vested in Nobody Owens’s future and wanted him to be safe and happy. All this to say that yes I want to try out more Neil Gaiman. And will include him in the list of authors-my children-have-to-read. (Yes, I have such a list).

  1. I also read Cecilia Grant’s A Lady Awakened and quite enjoyed it. Like the hype about Mr Gaiman, I see why the romance reading community has made such brouhaha over this author.

  2. Part science manual, part a meditation on memory, and part an exploration of a father-son relationship, How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe  is the other book that I read and I have decidedly mixed feelings about it. Mr. Charles Yu sure loves words and sentences–some of which went on for more than a paragraph. The story takes place in a universe where time travelling has been invented and as the narrator tells us almost everyone chooses to travel back to his or her worst day, hoping to redo it and start all over even though they can’t really. I found this particular facet thought provoking. It left me wondering if Mr Yu’s fiction has any basis of reality to it. Is that what we would really do? Given such a choice would we really go back to the days that housed all our regrets and mistakes instead of visiting those that had our most treasured memories? While I cannot know what posterity will choose I can certainly hope that it will be the latter.

Mr Yu’s musings on memory being a vehicle for time travelling which makes time travellers of all of us was certainly lovely. If the story had not been jettisoned into a hasty and not-properly-resolved ending and had had less ramblings (the pitfall of first person narratives I guess) I might have enjoyed the book more.

5.

Currently Reading – The Three Marriages by David Whyte. His discussion on work, relationship with your significant other and spirituality being the three marriages of an individual’s life as opposed to just the one that we normally think of is unique, interesting and will hopefully give me a new way of thinking about my own life.

Here’s Whyte, on the three marriages:

These are the three marriages, of Work, Self and Other.

A word on this word marriage: Despite our use of the word only for a committed relationship between two people, in reality this book looks at the way everyone is committed, consciously or unconsciously, to three marriages. There is that first marriage, the one we usually mean, to another; that second marriage, which can so often seem like a burden, to a work or vocation; and that third and most likely hidden marriage to a core conversation inside ourselves. We can call these three separate commitments marriages because at their core they are usually lifelong commitments and, as I wish to illustrate, they involve vows made either consciously or unconsciously.

And here’s a bit that I really liked:

Work is a constant conversation. It is the back-and-forth between what I think is me and what I think is not me; it is the edge between what the world needs of me and what I need of the world. Like the person to whom I am committed in a relationship, it is constantly changing and surprising me by its demands and needs but also by where it leads me, how much it teaches me, and especially, by how much tact, patience and maturity it demands of me.

Of being drunk on poetry

There is a review I planned
sitting half-finished

But I-
‘I am Blissful and Drunk and Overflowing’

This unexpected slight winter chill
in the balmy city of Mumbai
has made me think
of ‘a plain fired-clay cup,
the steam rising from a boiling teapot’
of that line that whispers itself to me often,
‘Everything is Waiting for You.’

I am thinking of those other winter nights
from years gone by
of sitting underneath the starlit sky
and of having my heart thrown wide open
where ‘Love
wants to reach out and manhandle us,
Break all our teacup talk of God.’

I can hear David Whyte
and Hafiz and Daniel Ladinsky
And Mary Oliver and Jane Hirshfield

And I hear my soul
shouting back in recognition
rushing forward,
‘tripping over joy’

~~*~

‘Everything is Waiting for you’ – David Whyte http://www.panhala.net/Archive/Everything_is_Waiting.html

‘I am Blissful and Drunk and Overflowing’ – ‘I heard God Laughing: Poems of Hafiz’ by Daniel Ladinsky

‘a plain fired-clay cup, the steam rising from a boiling teapot’ – Basho from The Heart of Haiku by Jane Hirshfield

‘Love wants to reach out and manhandle us, Break all our teacup talk of God.’ – ‘I heard God Laughing: Poems of Hafiz’ by Daniel Ladinsky

‘Tripping over Joy’. – ‘I heard God Laughing: Poems of Hafiz’ by Daniel Ladinsky