David Whyte, Haunted

“Haunted is a word that denotes an unresolved parallel, a presence that is not quite a presence; a visitation by the as yet unspeakable – it is also emblematic of the longing for incarnation, of an unbearable substrate of wanting, of not finding a home in this world or in the next, someone or something that walks the halls of our house or our mind looking for what will help to lay its own self to rest.

What haunts us is something that seeks its own disappearance, it wants to become fully itself and so depart. If we feel continually haunted over time we begin to become ghost-like ourselves and roam with intent whilst not quite knowing the object of our intention. Looking in the mirror, our face begins to look like our not quite incarnated life. We walk not exactly existing in the world we visit. Like the spirits and half-beings we imitate at Halloween, we roam the streets as if looking for an abode on this earth we are unable to locate, demanding tribute from those who dwell within. The exorcism of an unwanted spirit is consistent the world over: an invitation to return home; for it and for us to find our way back, to cease our restless ways and to quit disturbing others lives or walking their houses by night.

We cease to be haunted when we cease to be afraid of making what has been untouchable, real: especially our understandings of the past; and especially those we wronged, those we were wronged by, or those we did not help. We become real by forgiving ourselves and we forgive ourselves by changing the foundational pattern, and especially by changing our present behavior to those we have hurt. A fear of ghosts, or a fear of our own haunted mind is the measure of our absence in this world. We cease to be afraid when we give away what was never ours in the first place and begin to be present to our own lives just as we find them, even in facing what we have banished from our thoughts and made homeless, even when we do not know the way forward ourselves. When we make a friend of what we previously could not face, what once haunted us now becomes an invisible, parallel ally, a beckoning hand to our future.

We banish the misaligned when we align with what we are called to, we become visible and real when we give our gift and stop waiting for the gift to be given to us. We wake into our lives again, as if for the first time, laying to rest what previously had no home through beginning to speak, beginning to make real and beginning to live, those elements constellating inside us that long to move from the invisible to the visible.”

— David Whyte, ‘HAUNTED’ From CONSOLATIONS: The Solace, Nourishment and Underlying Meaning of Everyday Words

Creator of Light

To your riverbank
the sun, moon, and stars
flock to drink
and be born in light.
The nebula,
the primal dust
drank from your skin
and thus the first worlds were born,
and with them the first stars,
the possibility of life.
Color touches you
and whirls,
a Sufi gone mad,
a Sufi in love.
Color emanates
from the thickness of matter
and that emanation is you,
the inner radiance of the world
that keeps it throbbing
like a poem singing love.
Where a flame burns
its roots are struck in you,
rising from the wells
in the deeps of your heart,
burning in the grace
of your sacred oil.
You are the world’s
inexhaustible radiance,
the secret that confounds dawn,
that most solemn witness of light.
In you the world
is an infinite mandala
of light jumping into light,
light rubbing against light
as the principle that generates
the radiance of existence,
the purity of love.

Free Verse # 331 (opening the gates of fire)

Come to me on my deathbed,
ask me if you’re too late,
I’ll look at you and smile,
kiss you with my last breath.


Photographer unkown
Photographer unknown

From the nooks of her neck
my poem draws its breath,
a bird inhaling
the expanse of the sky.


Forest deep,
with pine needles
inking the moonlight
into her skin,
rivers gushing womb deep,
poems like moans rolling
white unto my lips.


I love her with the violence
of stars being born,
with the softness of moonlight
sipped in the cup of dawn.


Photographer unknown
Photographer unknown

the gates of fire,
against your breasts
the soft press
of poetry,
two flowering moons
shaking full of mead.

Everything is waiting

awaits your arrival,
the flowers trembling
perfume themselves
each dawn,
the green leaves burn
as though a hidden fire
was lit in their veins,
the wind intoxicated
combs the land
like a lover’s fingers
run his beloved’s hair
in starry rivers,
the birds
have forgotten their songs
and are practicing your name,
casting it into the doorways
of heaven and earth,
even dawn itself
in his deep silence
utters your breath like a prayer
awakening all to its fevered motions,
and the sun and moon and stars
whose bond was born
with time itself
now bow before
the oncoming echo
of your footstep.
Everything, everything is waiting,
and the poems feeling your scent
are doing the unthinkable,
revealing themselves
down to their sacred core,
saying what cannot be said,
and life and death
since eternity dancing
now halt and gaze
at the light
that is about to shed
the peel and skin
off existence itself.
Everything, everything is waiting.