Sunday, January 20, 2013


                                            From David Whyte's poem 
                                                  "Sweet Darkness" 

                                                           *  *  *

                                         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.

                                           Raymond Carver's poem
                                                 "Late Fragment"

                                   And did you get what 
                                   you wanted from this life, even so?
                                   I did.
                                   And what did you want?
                                   To call myself beloved, to feel myself
                                   beloved on earth.

                                            From Mary Oliver's poem
                                              "When Death Comes"

                                                         *  *  *

                          When it is over, I want to say: all my life
                          I was a bride married to amazement.
                          I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms..

                          When it's over, I don't want to wonder
                          if I have made of my life something particular, and real.
                          I don't want to find myself sighing and frightened, 
                          or full of argument.

                          I don't want to end up simply having visited this world.

Sources:  David Whyte's poem, "Sweet Darkness," is from The House of Belonging (1997), by David Whyte.  Mary Oliver's poem, "When Death Comes," is from New and Selected Poems (1992), by Mary Oliver.  Raymond Carver's poem, "Last Fragment," is from A New Path to the Waterfall (1989), by Raymond Carver. The Whyte and Oliver poems are also reproduced in a small anthology titled Risking Everything: 110 Poems of Love and Revelation (2003), edited by Roger Housden.


  1. Beautiful photos and words. I really enjoyed this post. Thanks!

  2. Thanks for the nice comments, ANNIE. Glad you dropped by, and you're always welcome to stop in for another visit.

  3. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. The images of reflection and those sweet fragments of some of my favorite poets is the perfect way to start this day. Thank you so much for your gentle posts, George. I will be tweeting this.

  4. Thanks so much, TERESA. You're very kind. Have a great day!

  5. Beautiful George, with a lot of food for thought. I have lost another friend this week and am just in the right mood to take the thoughts in these poems on board.

  6. Thanks, PAT. Sorry to hear about your friend, but I'm delighted if you are finding any solace in these poem fragments. Have a great week!

  7. The reflection photos - they make me want to look and look. The poetry you've chosen makes me think and think. A visit to your blog is usually like that for me, George.

  8. Thanks for the support, BARB. Delighted that you find value on Transit Notes.

  9. And did you get what/you wanted from this life, even so?/I did. Reminded me of William Carlos Williams' plums, for some reason. Well, actually, reading the poem, they weren't his plums - he took them. The poem is an apology of sorts. It also strikes me I've never tried putting plums in an icebox.

  10. No, DOMINIC. I suspect you were born too late to find plums in the icebox, versus the modern fridges we all have now. And do you think that delicious cold plums from the icebox might be enough for a person to say, "yes, that's what I wanted in life."? Perhaps so. Personally, I often find it's easier to find cold plums than it is to feel beloved in this world.

  11. Wonderful, reflective poems to go with wonderful, reflective images. Carver is a long-time favorite for his strong poetry and peerless short fiction, and I've read Mary Oliver for years, too. David Whyte is new to me, though—and I really liked this poem. Such a nice post.

  12. Your lovely post strikes me in how the three photos and the three quotations, while similar, are also quite different. The call of the words is to love one's own, individual life. The call of the reflection photos [for me] is to accept the ways life changes moment by moment on the surface but to keep steadily reflecting the deeper realities as one lives. Such beauty.

  13. Thanks for the generous comments, GRIZZ. Words and images—I think I shall love working with them until my dying breath. Then, of course, there is just being in nature, being in a place where awe replaces words.

  14. Thanks so much, RUTH. I'm delighted that you see the images as I do — changing appearances on the surface that do not disturb the deeper realities (perhaps reflected by the poem fragments), but always remind us of the transitoriness of everything we see.

  15. Lovely words, particularly those of Mary Oliver.

  16. Treasure, all of it.

    Beaty and wisdom combined, not a combination found often, or easily.

  17. Thanks for the kind words, FRIKO.

  18. Thanks, ROWAN. It's hard not to like Mary Oliver, especially if you love and live close to nature.

  19. I love your photo imagery.. .and David Whyte's poem Sweet Darkness is one of my favorites.. as a matter of fact I re-read it earlier today.

  20. Thanks, DONNA. So glad you liked this posting. And, yes, I find myself very moved by the David Whyte poem.

  21. Three of my favourite poets..and poems, thank you. Along with your beautiful images it makes for me a wonderful post.

  22. Thanks, CAIT. So glad you liked the poems and images.