I recently enjoyed Krista Tippet’s interview with poet, David Whyte. Among many gems, Whyte noted that one cannot argue with poetry, “because if you can argue with it, it’s not poetry. It’s prose.” I’ve considered for many years through my work as a teacher of Latin literature what it is that distinguishes poetry from prose. I felt the truth of his statement immediately. Poetry delivers itself as the “thing.” It is not a bundle of words with a message in it–about which one may argue. It is the thing itself. It can only be received or rejected. Once received, it has the power to transform.
So his poem “Everything is Waiting for You.”
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.
— David Whyte
from Everything is Waiting for You
©2003 Many Rivers Press
Today is a new day into which we can each step with a willingness to encounter what is waiting for us. Everything is, but I’ve lived long enough to know that I can only receive those things pretty much one at a time. So, let’s go forth today to discover, to receive, and to enjoy what is waiting for us–everything.