The Nature of Love in a Troubled World: Thoughts from David Whyte #Poetry #DavidWhyte #Love

Photo by Jasmine Carter on

Looking at the small shelf of books beside my bed last night, I noticed my copy of David Whyte’s The Bell and the Blackbird. My wife purchased the collection for me a few years ago when I expressed an interest in the book after a colleague introduced me to Whyte’s poetry. If you are familiar with my site and my favorite poets, Wendell Berry and Mary Oliver, you will recognize a kindred spirit in David Whyte. Admittedly, one of my favorite poems from this collection is the title work, but I pass over that one tonight to share Whyte’s profound thoughts on love, especially in the midst of trying times in a troubled world.

Beyond the school year rapidly winding down for me (five days to go, but who’s counting?), I have been overwhelmed by the cares of the world over the past week. The stresses of work have only increased, my friend lost his wife to cancer, my son ended up in the ER with a lawnmower injury, my van has required hours of body work to pass inspection (not to mention new front brakes and rotors), and I could hardly sleep or sit due to an injury to my tail bone that only improved after a painful adjustment by my chiropractor on Monday. And that’s not even considering the tragic news from Texas just yesterday and other disturbing world events. Yet, in the midst of this seemingly chaotic and violent world, the power of love (true love) continues to speak louder than hate and draws me back to love’s divine headwaters and into the daily stream of lived life. David Whyte’s poem invites you to do the same.

Much Has Been Said by David Whyte

Much has been said about the eternal
and untouchable nature of love,
its tidal ungovernable forces
and its emergence from far beyond
the ordinary, but love may find
its fullest, most imagined
and most courageous form
when it leaves the abstractions
and safety of the timeless
and the untrammeled
to make its promises
amidst the fears, vulnerabilities,
and disappearances of our difficult,
touchable and time bound world.

To love and to witness love
in the face of possible loss
and to find the mystery of love's
promise in the shadow of that loss,
in the shadow of the ordinary
and in the shadow of our own inevitable
disappearance may be where the eternal
source of all our origins stands
in awe of the full consequences
of everything it has set in motion.

From The Bell and the Blackbird, Many Rivers Press, Langley, 2018. Page 30.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s