A Road always beckoning – Start close in – David Whyte

Start Close In
Start close in, don’t take the second step or the third, start with the first thing 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 question, give up on other people’s questions, don’t let them smother something simple. To hear another’s voice, follow your own voice,

becomes an intimate 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.

START CLOSE IN This poem was inspired by the first lines of Dante’s Comedia, written in the midst of the despair of exile from his beloved Florence. It reflects the difficult act we all experience, of trying to make a home in the world again when everything has been taken away; the necessity of stepping bravely again, into what looks now like a dark wood, when the outer world as we know it has disappeared, when the world has to be met and in some ways made again from no outer ground but from the very center of our being. The temptation is to take the second or third step, not the first, to ignore the invitation into the center of our own body, into our grief, to attempt to finesse the grief and the absolutely necessary understanding at the core of the pattern, to forgo the radical and almost miraculous simplification into which we are being invited. Start close in.

From David Whyte Essentials https://www.namasteconnections.com/single-post/2020/03/20/David-Whyte-Essentials

How does my life look now, and where do I want to go?

We are all emerging into this new, post-viral world together. But whatever world we re-emerge into will have many radically different forms into which we will need to carry equally radical, ancient inner resources: powers of attention and attentiveness, combined with courageous speech, which are poetry’s special provenance.

Though our societies around the world are all opening at various paces, and we are doing the same as individuals, the impetus is toward re-emergence and, in a way, rededication and reformulation of  unspoken promises and spoken ambitions.

In these three sessions we will look at the phenomenon of courage combined with movement – the need to stay grounded in new qualities we might have discovered through the suspension of our ordinary lives; qualities that may, as we move back out into the world, transform our previous understanding of our destination.

A journey or a pilgrimage has always called for companionship, which is what this series is meant to provide, and whoever we meet on the journey will have a common bond of conversation: our world’s shared quarantine has created a deeply communal experience of loss and of trauma, but also, for many, a simultaneous and strangely unsettling sense of quiet, rest and reassessment.

My own life has been completely transformed by these three months at home, not only in the details of the present but in how I view both my future and my journey into that future, an experience shared by many. I look forward to inviting you into my house and home and study, but most of all into my heart and mind, bringing my thoughts and my poetry to bear on the disturbingly beautiful question now awaiting us all: late or soon, emerging now, next year or at some indeterminate time in the future: how does my life look now, and where do I want to go?


Leave a Reply