Tuesday, September 13, 2016


It is always tempting to think of oneself as essentially alone in this world — alone in birth, alone in life, and alone in death.  However comforting this sentiment might be when one is feeling a bit lonely, the truth is that none of us is ever truly alone.  Each and every life is always unfolding in relationship to the unfolding of all other things in existence, both animate and inanimate.  Just as there is a dance between night and day, a dance between grief and joy, a dance between shore and sea, there is an undeniable dance between each of us and the myriad things that lie beyond our control.  We're always in a conversation with everything that happens in our environment, especially those things that command our attention.

This is what poet and philosopher David Whyte has referred to as "the conversational nature of reality,"  and he has written a very fine poem that captures its essence.  Describing his inspiration for the poem in a recent interview on the excellent radio/podcast program On Being, Whyte said this:

[T]his piece is written almost like a conversation in the mirror, trying to remind myself what's first-order.  And we have so many allies in this world, including just the color blue in the sky, which we're not paying attention to, or the breeze, or the ground beneath our feet.  And so this is an invitation to come out of abstraction and back to the world again.  It's called "Everything is Waiting For You."
So here's the poem.  Enjoy. 

                                          Everything is Waiting for You
                                                   (after Derek Mahon)

                               Your great mistake is to act the drama

                               as if you were alone.  As if life
                               were a progressive and cunning crime
                               with no witness to the tiny hidden
                               transgressions.  To feel abandoned is to deny
                               the intimacy of your surroundings.  Surely,
                               even you, at times, have felt the grand array;
                               the swelling presence, and the chorus, crowding
                               out your solo voice.  You must note
                               the way the soap dish enables you,
                               or the window latch grants you freedom.
                               Alertness is the hidden discipline of familiarity.
                               The stairs are your mentor of things
                               to come, the doors have always been there
                               to frighten you and invite you,
                               and the tiny speaker in the phone
                               is your dream-ladder to divinity.

                               Put down the weight of your aloneness and ease into
                               the conversation.  The kettle is singing
                               even as it pours you a drink, the cooking pots
                               have left their arrogant aloofness and
                               seen the good in you at last.  All the birds
                               and creatures of the world are unutterably
                               themselves.  Everything is waiting for you.


  1. Perfect timing .... thank you for this, very much.

  2. I have never before been gazed at by a dragonfly (that I know of). Tonight a hummer fluttered at the window, trying to get inside. I thought they'd all left, but apparently this one is still hoping (I think in vain) for a bit more summer. Both wonderful photos, George. I like the mindfulness described in the poem.

    1. Thanks, Barb. Glad you liked this posting. Yes, dragonflies will definitely stare you down. It's rather eerie sometimes.

  3. But even dragonflies are proof that one is never alone.

    Thanks George, again you have provided me with a poem for our Poetry meeting.

    1. Thanks, Pat. You're right, of course about the dragonfly proof. Notwithstanding our temporary feelings of aloneness from time to time, we are always surrounded other creatures, all of them beautiful and interesting in their own ways, living out their daily lives as we do. We are all on this journey together. Glad to know that I have provided the poetry group with another poem. Spreading poetry is always a pleasure.

  4. So wonderful and liberating and inclusive to realise again, with the sudden shock some poems engender, the conversational connectedness between the human and the non-human, the animate and the non-animate.

    1. Glad this resonated with you, Robert. I think you're on to something when you speak of realizing "again . . . with the sudden shock some poems engender," the ongoing conversations between the human and the non-human. Poetry has a way of bringing us back to what we thought we knew, but have often forgotten or neglected. I find it quite refreshing at any given moment to simply listen to my senses and let everything sing its unique song to me.

    2. By the way, Robert, I think you would really enjoy the podcast of Krista Tippett's interview with David Whyte on the "On Being" website. Whyte possesses a very beautiful mind, and his casual talk seems to be poetry itself. He currently lives in the U.S., but his roots are in Ireland and Yorkshire.

  5. George.. Great captures and thoughts. The poem speaks quiet volumes filled with many truths. Aloneness is so often on my mind.
    Wonderful post.

    1. Thanks so much, Laura. Glad you liked both the images and the poem. For those of us who choose to spend a great deal of time in solitude, it's nice to be reminded that we are always surrounded by the wonders of creation, both animate and inanimate. I thinks it's probably impossible to give anything your full attention and still feel alone. When I see one of your lovely flower images, I don't just see the flower; I see your relationship with it.

  6. Such a wonderful post all around! I enjoyed both the poem and the photos. The photos are gorgeous! Thank you so much for sharing, and warm greetings from Montreal, Canada.

  7. Thanks, Linda. I'm delighted that the poem and images resonated with you. Nice to have you as part of the conversation, and I hope you will drop in again. In my former life as a lawyer, I worked quite a bit with Canada and Canadians, so people from your part of the world hold a special place in my heart.

  8. Oh I like this so so much thank you for posting this George. It reminds me of Rumi's 'constant conversation' which is there, if we tune into it and recognize it, and give thanks to all the various creatures and objects that do indeed surround us. I believe that all objects are alive and respond to us and our feelings, and just think how much they help and support us all the time!

    1. Thanks for your lovely and thoughtful comment, Morelle. The larger world, the one that lies beyond the the noise of contemporary politics and culture, is the only world in which I can survive. As so many seek to classify and divide things and people, I take refuge in knowing that everything is connected and unfolding together.