Publication date: Poem by David Whyte

January 6th, 2011 — 9:12am

A friend gave me this poem by David Whyte, from his book “River Flow”. I’ve shortened it, for the purposes of space, with true apologies to Mr. Whyte, because his words are beautiful.

The title is not “Publication Date” — it’s “Waiting to Go On” — but it captures how I feel as I get ready for Ravenous to be published on February 1.



I lay a handful of walnuts
to dry by the fire,
pile six new apples in a bowl
and wiping the cutting boards
to a woody gleam, clear off
the fine needles and nubby stalks
that fell from mushrooms
I found in the morning,
walking the woods…

…All this continual practice,
this sharpening
and attentive presence,
this daily fetching and gathering
this constant maturing
and getting ready,
all this slowly
being heated through,
brought to a simmer,
being educated, knowledgeable,
learning through experience,
all this work to have
one complete day
lived just as it should be
all this constant testing
by the world
to see if we are done,
ready, cooked through,
ripe enough to fall,
to be lifted, bitten right into
and consumed ourselves

and then, for everyone
all the
hours of daily
practice just learning to hit
the note,
the conversational note,
the musical note
just right,
wanting it live
with all the other notes.

It must be we are waiting
for the perfect moment.
It must be
under the struggle
we want to go on.

It must be, deep
we are creatures
getting ready
for when we are needed.

It must be that waiting
for the listening ear
of the appreciative word,
for the right
woman or the right man
or the right moment
just to ourselves.

we are getting ready
just to be ready

and nothing else.

Like this moment
just before the guests arrive
alone in the kitchen
sensing a deep
down symmetry
in every blessed thing.

The way
that everything
to us
is preparing to meet us too.

Just on the other
side of the door
is about to
and our life
is just
about to change.

and finally
after all these
years rehearsing,
the curtain,

we might
just be
to go on.

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One Response to “Publication date: Poem by David Whyte”

  1. Colleen Smith

    David Whyte, if you ask me, is a prophet, as well as a poet. This poem spoke to me, fed me. Thank you for this soul food, Dayna. ~ Colleen Smith

    P.S. I had the opportunity to interview David Whyte, and if your readers are interested, here is a link to my article titled “David Whyte’s Nonprosaic World”:

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