What to remember

David Whyte’s 2010 poem  speaks to our historical moment, as well as to the break of day. But of course that’s what good poetry is supposed to do, isn’t it? The “other world” might be darkness and dreams, it might be the interior mind struggling to emerge into daylight, it might just be a more functional self. Whatever it is, we’re too quick to forget it. Good poetry remembers.

WHAT TO REMEMBER WHEN WAKING
In that first
hardly noticed
moment
in which you wake,
coming back
to this life
from the other
more secret,
moveable
and frighteningly
honest
world
where everything
began,
there is a small
opening
into the day
which closes
the moment
you begin
your plans.
What you can plan
is too small
for you to live.
What you can live
wholeheartedly
will make plans
enough
for the vitality
hidden in your sleep.
To be human
is to become visible,
while carrying
what is hidden
as a gift to others.
To remember
the other world
in this world
is to live in your
true inheritance…
Excerpt from ‘What to Remember When Waking’
From RIVER FLOW: New and Selected Poems
Many Rivers Press. ©David Whyte

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