Sunday, January 13, 2008

sweet darkness

a poem found me today and unlocked me, in a place wholly unexpected.

i was sitting in a church, biding my time through the morning service, waiting for an after-service forum i'd been invited to participate in about marriage equality.

i was just...sitting there. half paying attention. my thoughts wandering as they so often do, just barely touching the present moment. staring out the window, planning the rest of my day, thinking ahead to the week, the month, my mind in a million other places.

and then, as if she were in a tunnel, i heard a woman say these words: "when your eyes are tired, the world is tired also." and something about those words caught me...pulled me back...

and so i listened to her. i could not move. could not breathe until she finished the poem. i was surprised to feel my eyes fill up with water, i was surprised to feel my heart, aching. i was most surprised to feel my mind, aware.

those words wrapped themselves around me like an embrace, like a friend, telling me how to calm the restlessness in my head, and in my heart.

and now, i am home. there is shifting in the air, in the atmosphere. a storm is coming.

i know the world is moving, the world is moving so damn fast and sometimes i feel as though i will never keep up, i will trip and fall and get left behind somehow. am i strong enough? am i good enough? sometimes i unsure. and so. alone.

but for tonight at least, my head and my heart are still and quiet. and that poem is singing inside me.

i'm going outside, to my back porch.

and i'm just going to sit there.

in the sweet darkness.

Sweet Darkness

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

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 this:

anything or anyone
that does not bring you alive

is too small for you.

David Whyte
From "The House of Belonging"


MRMacrum said...

Nice poem. But i wonder about the line-
"Give up all the other worlds
except the one to which you belong."

It seems to me that this is one of our major problems as a species struggling to climb out of our self centered ways. Should we not attempt to include as many worlds as we can? Cutting oneself off from those who are different is why we are at each other in the first place.

We are all part of one world. We delude ourselves by breaking it up into parts heavy with arbitrary borders of fence and ideologies. Making it hard for others to share what we all have in common. Our humanity.

In the end we are all in this together. No matter what we may think to the contrary.

A selfish poem in my opinion.

toklas23 said...

Thanks for the comment.

One of the things i most love about art, and in this instance, poetry is that we all have different interpretations of the words, or the picture, or the music, or whatever it might be. and i appreciated it when i read your slant of this poem.

i guess, for me, i read that line about the "other worlds" differently...much more as metaphor or symbolism rather than the literal. maybe it's the Buddhist in me. For me, it means live in THIS world...the one that exists now, in this moment. I didn't read it as though the world was one small corner of earth, but all of it...the entire planet, as it exists, today.

Maybe it resonated with me because i have a tendency to float between the world of the present and the world of my past, and my future. It's in those moments when i am not acutely aware and present, and noticing the life all around me, that i tend to get a little lost, or slip up, or forget to pay attention.

But you've given me more to "chew on"...and I appreciate it.


MRMacrum said...

After re-reading the poem, I can definitely see yur point here. I guess my comment on it came after yet another onslaught from the TV of all the hate and discontent broiling up around the globe. Maybe if everyone looked at this poem as you do, we might both get what we want. Thanks for "your slant". I retract my "selfish" comment.