Poems for Challenging Times 1

David Whyte’s The House of Belonging is – literally – a long poem, but it is rich with possibilities and is indeed, itself about possibilities. The poem points to an epiphany of some kind, as light literally dawns. it marks a shift to a new settledness, a fresh awareness. 

This poem, with its short, resonating phrases, lends itself  to become a springboard for our own reflective writing. The space on the page gives us space to roam, and explore what coming home to ourselves means. (Think how different these words would feel if they were written out as prose).

For example, free-writing could be begun from the prompt ‘I awoke’… or ‘This is the…. day’…. 

The poem invites us to reflect on our own questions. What ‘adult aloneness’ or the ‘house of belonging’ mean to you? Is belonging something we contain, somewhere we inhabit or in the relationships we welcome? What has it taken you long to ‘learn to love’? 

The House of Belonging 

I awoke

this morning

in the gold light

turning this way

and that

 

thinking for

a moment

it was one

day

like any other.

 

But

the veil had gone

from my

darkened heart

and

I thought

 

it must have been the quiet

candlelight

that filled my room,

 

it must have been

the first

easy rhythm

with which I breathed

myself to sleep,

 

it must have been

the prayer I said

speaking to the otherness

of the night.

 

And

I thought

this is the good day

you could

meet your love,

 

this is the black day

someone close

to you could die.

 

This is the day

you realise

how easily the thread

is broken

between this world

and the next

 

and I found myself

sitting up

in the quiet pathway

of light,

 

the tawny

close grained cedar

burning round

me like fire

and all the angels of this housely

heaven ascending

through the first

roof of light

the sun has made.

 

This is the bright home

in which I live,

this is where

I ask

my friends

to come,

this is where I want

to love all the things

it has taken me so long

to learn to love.

 

This is the temple

of my adult aloneness

and I belong

to that aloneness

as I belong to my life.

 

There is no house

like the house of belonging.

 

David Whyte

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  • About Julia

    Julia

    From writing stories for my younger brother, to penning poems for the School Magazine and filling a growing pile of personal journals, the written word has always been part of my life’s journey.

    I started out as an English Teacher and subsequently retrained as a Counsellor. I have counselled in a GP Surgery and worked with various Employee Assistance Schemes and Charitable Trusts alongside seeing private clients.

    Although I have done some freelance journalism and written four non-fiction books, creative writing has become my main focus in recent years.

    My poems have appeared online on sites including Amaryllis, Silver Birch Press, Clear Poetry, Spilling Cocoa Over Martin Amis, Riggwelter and Ink,Sweat and Tears. I have been published in Curlew and Bucks Mill Magazine, and anthologised in Our Hearts Still Sing. My first poetry collection, Chester City Walls, came out in 2015.

    Read more about Julia
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