Sweet Darkness

Sweet Darkness

David Whyte

You must learn one thing.
The world was made to be free in.

Give up all the other worlds
except the one to which you belong.

Sometimes it takes darkness and the sweet
confinement of your aloneness
to learn

anything or anyone
that does not bring you alive

is too small for you.

view the whole poem here

As we greet this day of autumn equinox at the balance of light and dark, this is feeling like a good poem to sit with, a reminder of the sweetness of understanding the darkness and who we really are.

You must learn one thing./The world was made to be free in. Only one thing!  How that simplifies our choices. To learn that this world is made for each of us to find out who we really are is freeing.

Give up all the other worlds/except the one to which you belong. Though we often seek  other worlds that other people seem to have, there is really only one, the one we claim for ourselves, the one that reflects our essence.

Sometimes it takes darkness and the sweet/confinement of your aloneness/to learn/anything or anyone/that does not bring you alive/is too small for you.   Though we may dread and fear the darkness, both literal and metaphorical, as well as our aloneness, Whyte is saying this is sometimes what it takes for us to learn what we need to know about our fullest potential. Anything less is not enough.

What brings you alive? Can you appreciate the sweetness of the  confinement of your aloneness, of your darkness?


3 thoughts on “Sweet Darkness

  1. I think Whyte is an existentialist. He’s asking us to focus on there here and now, the only world we can tangibly can grasp. We can face the darkness – which I interpret as our knowledge we are mortal – it is sweet darkness because once we face that reality, we are liberated from the fear of death.

    “..if a way to the Better there be, it exacts a full look at the Worst.” as my favourite poet, Thomas Hardy

    As Frost says “the Woods are lovely dark and deep…”

    The poet lives and writes at the frontier between deep internal experience and the revelations of the outer world. There is no going back once this frontier has been reached; a new territory is visible and what has been said cannot be unsaid.
    Poetry is a break for freedom. In a sense, all poems are good; all poems are an emblem of courage and the attempt to say the unsayable; but only a few are able to speak to something universal yet personal and distinct at the same time; to create a door through which others can walk into what previously seemed unobtainable realms, in the passage of a few short lines. David Whyte
    Also found – January 7th 2015 appeared in A Year of Being Here


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