It’s the silence


It’s the silence that’s the really important
thing – three or four times a day if that’s
remotely possible

It’s the silence that’s the really important
thing because the cave-like walls around the
edges of the no-noise afford resounding
echoes of the silent music you really need to
remember, the in-breath, the out-breath, the
heartbeat, the murmur

Not so much THE, actually, but rather hers, or
his, your own dear co-creators who gaze out
lovingly, with attentive eye and ear and scent
and taste and touch, from the very heart and
source of an infinite waterfall that heals and
raises dead things buried deep in damp earth
and irrigates the depths of the soul

It’s the silence that’s the really important
thing – three or four times a day if that’s
remotely possible

because that’s where the deepest encounters
take place, that’s where you meet vivacity
that’s where you know that because She’s still
breathing, singing, laughing, being, weeping,
growing, making – so, too, in all eternity

you are, in I AM


Elements of belonging

Last evening I got lost in a reverie with David Whyte’s poem Working Together: master teacher of the arts of evocation and of invocation, his poems “haunt” me, hovering in and around me, in much the same way Mary Oliver’s do, or May Sarton’s, or William Stafford’s. Poets who become our favourites do so, I guess, because something of their form, heart, precision and soul takes up residency somewhere deep, deep, deep within us.

… may we, in this life

to those elements
we have yet to see

or imagine

David Whyte
from Working Together
The House of Belonging

Though I knew of the late John O’Donohue’s sublime works (Anam Cara – soul friend; Divine Beauty etc) before I discovered David Whyte, I wasn’t in the slightest bit surprised when I learned that the two were the closest of friends. Each, consciously or unconsciously, writes blessing. The poetic voice of each – the sound, the timbre, the vibration – are heard once, never to be forgotten … may we, in this life / trust …

Some lovely video footage of John, writing at home, comfortably seated beside an Irish peat fire, has left me with a burning desire some day to visit The Burren [YouTube], perhaps to encounter the soul of the great man in the vast and ancient open spaces there, and maybe, by some miracle, to bump into his old friend David Whyte who, I like to imagine, still walks and remembers there from time to time … to those elements / we have yet to see …

But the actual going there, to The Burren, will not, I think, be necessary, even if someday achieved and delighted in. For the poetry of life has already done its work, and friendships I delight in – some of whom I’ve set eyes on, and some of whom I haven’t, have already been shown to be gifts and graces of that ultimate Oneness for which we instinctively reach. All that’s necessary each day is for me to meditate, remember or imagine.


Wow, it’s blowing a gale here today. From time to time the roof of this old house creaks and invisible power lifts heavy slate and rafter as though the whole place were yawning and stretching – awakening perhaps, in imagination at least, to the brightness and promise of Spring. Birdsong rises above the sound of the wind – in fact everything, everywhere seems to be singing.

For actually the sky is bright and blue and clear – though “more grey”, says the Met Office, “for later”. Our first two brave daffodils are laughing in the current we can’t see – so imagination isn’t necessary, but flourishing anyway, so that one is almost certainly hearing these yellow harbingers calling out to the others, still furled and cautious, to hurry up and join the festival!

Walking out from the gym into morning sunlight earlier we noticed that grey had been swapped for blue and gold by an efficiently unseen mover and shaker. Yesterday the shoppers grumbled. Today they strode purposefully – with a gleam in the eye that suggested “blow the diet. Let’s have sticky toffee pudding” – throwing aforementioned caution, as they say, to the wind. Ha!

A flock of Canada Geese didn’t appear in the least-bit put out about being thrown off course. Collared doves and rooks are perhaps a little more anxious as they find it difficult enough already trying to get a grip on the sparrows’ suet feeder. My fastidiously brushed hair is roughly tousled by an out of sight tease. The affrontery of this gale! – but it absolutely makes me smile, despite myself.

Dank air around everything’s having been continuously flooded, soaked or frozen for weeks on end is blown elsewhere, somewhere, and the cosmic dryer disperses surface puddles and temporary field-lakeland. Forest deadwood falls to the floor, continuing its designed cycle of being and becoming, making way for new shoots, twigs, leaves and branches. Other-plane-power from beyond.

Resurrection. Warming. Wind-lift.

Little Icon

Shepherds, wisdom seekers, astrologers, hoteliers, flute players … Everychild, Everywoman, Everyman – any and all of us may find ourselves surprised and touched to the core by the advent of an infant. A tiny little living icon. The contemplation and the meditation come naturally as we take in the miracle: eyes, nose, little mouth, fingers, toes …

The life lessons – for all of us – begin with the the wonder of perfectly proportioned littleness, moving on to the realities of words beginning with every letter of every human alphabet – words like awakened, becoming, crying, dependence, education, feeding, growing, hoping, imagining, joy, knowing, learning, mothering, newness, otherness, purpose, quietness, radiance, simplicity, thankfulness … 

Whosoever and wheresoever we are in the world, with or without faith tradition, with or without much expectation or imagination, we’re never very far from a tiny little living icon of Life present to and with us, a living, breathing wonder of both immanence and transcendence, a reminder of where we’ve all come from and where we’re all heading, encouragement in hope and strength, and in weakness and vulnerability.

Tiny little living icons turn our lives upside down and right side up again, and in each and every one of them, in good times and in bad, theirs and ours, we come face to face with the imprint of the Life-giver, with the Immortal, with the Invisible, and – even if unknowingly – yearn to become Wise. Oh, Shalom, precious little Icon. Shalom.

Throwing dust

Writing the poem gave the inner world
where I was focused a stronger sense of
reality, the way throwing dust on the
Invisible Man reveals his presence.

Glo Lamson

Since the business of the poet is that of “making something” it has long been natural for me to think of God as the Divine Poet, the underlying source and life in all things, seen and unseen. Poets bring the invisible before our eyes. Glo Lamson has drawn my eye in a vivid poetic way to incarnation, to both the reason and the way life is revealed – in us and in all the physical world.

We humans often speak of our need to see God, or art, or love, or one another – we believe in anything, in part, when it is rendered visible to us, even whilst understanding “blessed are they that have not seen and yet have believed” – John 20.29 KJV. But the Divine Artist is a generous poet, a beneficent maker of works of art, to appeal and to reveal to all created senses. So reality becomes focused, as Glo Lamson has it, “the way throwing dust on the Invisible Man reveals his presence.”

The otherwise invisible Life is rendered visible, incarnated, in ‘adamah – divinely shaped earth: care-fully placed vivified dust.