#NaPoMo 9

“Start Close In”

Start close in,
don’t take the second step
or the third,
start with the first
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 to begin
the conversation.

Start with your own
give up on other
people’s questions,
don’t let them
smother something

To hear
another’s voice,
your own voice,
wait until it
becomes an
private ear
that can
really listen
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
close in,
the step
you don’t want to take.


I wish this poem was already in existence when I heard yesterday’s poem, “Sweet Darkness.” I heard that first poem as an “invitation” to change and this one as a “how to.” Though I found my way without access to its particular wisdom, I have found it so helpful since. It is a daily reminder to wake up, to take stock, and to always start “close in.”

I am a future-oriented thinker, so I have a tendency to get ahead of myself.  I don’t while away hours thinking about the past; I don’t often get lost in the present moment. Rather, I can spend hours daydreaming about the future and how things might go. I can get ten days, ten weeks, ten months of planning under my belt in just minutes. This poem gently, lovingly, and wisely calls me to start in the here and now.

This poem is a call to problem-solving in the present moment by taking a long, hard look at the real, which is almost always “the step/you don’t want to take.”

This poem asks me:

What am I avoiding?

What am I refusing to see?

What don’t I want to change?

Whyte invites us to ground ourselves, literally, in“the pale ground/ beneath your feet” and metaphorically by finding the ground of our own being, listening to our own voice, intimately and humbly. Only then will we have the wisdom to courageously make the next right step.

grayscale photography of person wearing checkered slip on shoes
My favorite shoes to take steps in these days…

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