This is the temple of my adult aloneness

This morning, a dear friend of mine guided me towards this lovely podcast featuring the poet David Whyte (1960-) and it inspired me to post one of his transcendent poems.  I highly recommend you listen to the conversation after reading this poem, or whenever you can find a bit of time in your day to reflect and absorb some luminous wisdom.

davidwhyte

“The House of Belonging”

I awoke
this morning
in the gold light
turning this way
and that

thinking for
a moment
it was one
day
like any other.

But
the veil had gone
from my
darkened heart
and
I thought

it must have been the quiet
candlelight
that filled my room,

it must have been
the first
easy rhythm
with which I breathed
myself to sleep,

it must have been
the prayer I said
speaking to the otherness
of the night.

And
I thought
this is the good day
you could
meet your love,

this is the gray day
someone close
to you could die.

This is the day
you realize
how easily the thread
is broken
between this world
and the next

and I found myself
sitting up
in the quiet pathway
of light,

the tawny
close grained cedar
burning round
me like fire
and all the angels of this housely
heaven ascending
through the first
roof of light
the sun has made.

This is the bright home
in which I live,
this is where
I ask
my friends
to come,
this is where I want
to love all the things
it has taken me so long
to learn to love.

This is the temple
of my adult aloneness
and I belong
to that aloneness
as I belong to my life.

There is no house
like the house of belonging.

Their greenness is a kind of grief.

After you read this Philip Larkin (1922-1985) poem, hear him recite it to you.

“The Trees”

The trees are coming into leaf
Like something almost being said;
The recent buds relax and spread,
Their greenness is a kind of grief.

Is it that they are born again
And we grow old? No, they die too,
Their yearly trick of looking new
Is written down in rings of grain.

Yet still the unresting castles thresh
In fullgrown thickness every May.
Last year is dead, they seem to say,
Begin afresh, afresh, afresh.

Should people be landlocked, though?

The young Welsh poet Dai George (1986-) tenderly weaves together the dreamed-of future, the pacing present, and the enduring past in this lovely piece from his debut collection, The Claims Office.

“Plans with the Unmet Wife”

Should we first meet in a market
somewhere equidistant from our lives
and take up the tryst, slightly against choice,

in a city of mutual strangeness;
should lunch hour in a gallery
become a truant afternoon;

should I feel your side and grow privy
to homeland, or the childhood room
where you’d hide and which I’ll never visit;

if we have to fly family over
for the ceremony, and tell them straight
that we’ve altered our bearing,

how is this going to work?
Aflutter from the thought a kid
of mine might be oval-eyed,

I pace Manhattan’s narrow rood.
Our dark-skinned and bilingual girl
would be better poised, thank god,

than her old man. Better able to glide
thoughtlessly between her stations,
beholden less to land than tide.

Should people be landlocked, though?
Years from now, you’re bathing her
in the sink of our apartment.

Something of the light: your shorter hair
and rolled sleeves have me in mind
of Nan, when she worked a loofah

every Friday against my back.
My parents’ weekly respite:
packed off for an overnight,

I remember the peerless heat
of jim-jams from the radiator
sliding over my shampooed head,

and the contours of my second bed —
how Mam was only separate
by twenty minutes of motorway.