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.