In the middle of the road of my life, I awoke in a dark wood where the true way was wholly lost. ~ Dante – The Divine Comedy
The previous post was a wonderful poem by David Wagoner entitled Lost. In this excerpt from an interview with the poet David Whyte, he speaks about Wagoner’s poem and about how poetry has the power to act as a spiritual road map when we feel that we have lost our way upon our life-path. For Whyte, poets leave ‘footprints in the snow’; poems record the lessons learned by countless generations about what it means to be human, leaving clues as to how we survive the tough emotional terrain of those encounters with crisis. Whyte’s own poetry seeks to discover belonging in the uncertainty of living – to embrace the darkness and emptiness in order to uncover the gift that lies at its heart. For Whyte, these moments when the path disappears before us are the beginning stages of rediscovering a greater authenticity of self; they are the first steps in learning who we truly are and want we truly need to engage with our lives with depth and meaning.
To end, I leave you with one of Whyte’s own poems, Sweet Darkness from his book of poetry The House of Belonging:
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 recognise 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 other worlds
except the one to which you belong.
Sometimes it takes darkness and the sweet
confinement of your aloneness
anything or anyone
that does not bring you alive
is too small for you.