David Whyte – Mid Life Woman

Mid life woman
you are not
invisible to me.
I seem to see
beneath your face
all the women
you have ever been.

Midlife woman
I have grown with you
secretly,
in another parallel,
breathing with you
as you breathed,
seeing with you
as you see,
lining my face
with an earned care
as you lined yours,
waiting for you
as it seems
you waited for me.

Mid life woman
I see your
inner complexion
breathing beneath
your outward gaze,
I see all your lives
and all your loves,
it must be for you
that I wanted to become
more generous,
a better man
than ever I could be
when young,
let me join all your
present giving
and all your receiving,
through you I learn
the full imagination
of every previous affection.

Mid life woman
you are not invisible to me,
in you
I see a young girl,
lifting her face to the sky,
I see the young woman
in haloed light,
full and strong,
standing before
the altar of time,
waiting for her chosen.

I see the mother in you,
in your past
or in some yet
to be understood
future,
I see you
adoring and
I see you adored,
and now,
when I call your name
I want to see
day by day,
the woman
you will become
with me.

Mid-life woman
come to me now,
I see you more clearly
than all
the airbrushed
girls of the world.

I became a warrior
only to earn
your present
mature affection,
I bear my scars to you,
my eyes are lined
to smile with you
and I come to you
uncultivated
and unshaven
walking rough
and wild through rain
and wind and I pace
the mountain
all night
in my happy,
magnificence
at finding you.

Mid life woman,
In the dark of the night
I take you in my arms
and in that embracing
invisibility feel all of your
inner lives made touchable
and visible again.

Mid-life woman
I have earned
my ability to adore you.

Mid life woman
you are not invisible to me.
Come to me now
and let me kiss passionately
all the beautiful women
who have
ever lived in you.

My promise
is to you now
and all their future lives.

— David Whyte, Mid Life Woman, from The Sea In You

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

On Gardening

Like water
through the soil
his hands into her
flowed
soaking her
to the bones,
uprooting
reviving
nurturing
seeding
pruning
grafting,
growing her
into a garden
burning with wild flowers,
an orchard heavy
with fruits of lust and joy,
birds of fire
circling her skin,
in her womb converging
to consume her whole.

To L