my birthday present

my birthday present
My awesome birthday present 1/26/11 (see story under my first post)

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Taking the First Step

Start Close In
Start close in,                         
don't take the second step
or the third,
start with the first thing close in,
the step you don't want to take.
Start with the ground you know,
the pale ground beneath your feet,
your own way of starting the conversation.
Start with your own question,
give up on other people's questions,
don't let them smother something simple.
To find another's voice follow your own voice,
wait until that voice becomes a private ear
listening to another. Start right now
take a small step you can call your own
don't follow someone else's heroics,
be humble and focused, start close in,
don't mistake that other for your own.
Start close in,
don't take the second step
or the third,
start with the first thing close in,
the step you don't want to take.
~ David Whyte
If you feel you have already taken the first step, and it was not all that difficult, then David suggests you  are kidding yourself, that was probably not really the first step you need to take to make that important change.
Below is some encouragement, some reason to take the plunge.

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 swelling 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.

David Whyte          (click on his name to link to his website)  

So the closed doors that are before us serve to represent new possibilities, but practical fear prevents us from rushing through them without proper caution. The important thing is to make sure we don’t allow those doors to remain closed too long.
Here is a link where you can hear David discuss and read the poem. Notice his opening comments on getting poetry to as many people as possible. I can identify with that.
Someone has set their own pictures to his reading, not great, but the audio is wonderful. I have two of his audio books and I think he is awesome. See what you think of his style of reading. He will be at Mercyhurst Sunday, March 27 at 8:00.


marie-josé said...

About Terry Whyte's "Start Close In"


Very zen.

More on the other poem later.

marie-josé said...

About "Everything is Waiting for You":

My first impression is that it is a poem about solitude. Whyte doesn't really believe that it exists. My last impression is that is it a poem about about solitude. We are its inventors, and all around us shows us that we are fooled by our own egocentrism. With a little more humility and a lot more interest about our surroundings, loneliness would disappear.

Again, a remarkable piece. I was particularly struck by this philosophical line: "Alertness is the discipline of familiarity."