#NaPoMo 13

This is the final poem I will be sharing by David Whyte.


There is a faith in loving fiercely
the one who is rightfully yours
especially if you have
waited years and especially
if part of you never believed
you could deserve this
loved and beckoning hand
held out to you this way.

I am thinking of faith now
and the testaments of loneliness
and what we feel we are
worthy of in this world.

Years ago in the Hebrides,
I remember an old man
who walked every morning
on the grey stones
to the shore of baying seals,
who would press his hat
to his chest in the blustering
salt wind and say his prayer
to the turbulent Jesus
hidden in the water,

and I think of the story
of the storm and everyone
waking and seeing
the distant
yet familiar figure
far across the water
calling to them

and how we are all
preparing for that
abrupt waking,
and that calling,
and that moment
we have to say yes,
except it will
not come so grandly
so Biblically
but more subtly
and intimately in the face
of the one you know
you have to love

so that when
we finally step out of the boat
toward them, we find
everything holds
us, and everything confirms
our courage, and if you wanted
to drown you could,

but you don’t
because finally
after all this struggle
and all these years
you don’t want to any more
you’ve simply had enough
of drowning
and you want to live and you
want to love and you will
walk across any territory
and any darkness
however fluid and however
dangerous to take the
one hand you know
belongs in yours.


I loved how this poem surprised me. The first two stanzas allude to the theme of romantic love that Whyte brought out in “Midlife Woman.” However, in the next stanza, he quickly moves away from romantic love. He brings us into a scene straight out of an Irish painting, an old man by the sea, and implies that the man’s faith in Jesus is a kind of true love as well. We are cast into the Biblical story of Peter’s great faith and doubt, both in Jesus and himself, and finally, we are playing the role of Peter ourselves. We are the ones called by the Divine out of the boat as an act of faith and true love.

Do we have the courage to walk on, or will we drown as we have so many times before?

This poem reminds me that True Love is an act of faith as much a decision we make for ourselves and for life itself as it is for the other.  


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