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Nostalgia

Nostalgia

NOSTALGIA

Is the arriving waveform of a dynamic past, newly remembered and about to be re-imagined by a mind and a body at last ready to come to terms with what actually occurred. Nostalgia subverts the present by its overwhelming physical connection to a person or a place, to a time in which we lived or to a person with whom we lived, making us wonder, in the meeting of past and present, if the intervening years ever occurred. Nostalgia can feel like an indulgence, a sickness, an inundation by forces beyond us, but strangely, forces that have also lived with us and within us, all along.

Nostalgia is not indulgence. Nostalgia tells us we are in the presence of imminent revelation, about to break through the present structures held together by the way we have remembered: something we thought we understood but that we are now about to fully understand, something already lived but not fully lived, issuing not from our future but from something already experienced, something that was important, but something to which we did not grant importance enough, something now wanting to be lived again, at the depth to which it first invited us but which we originally refused. Nostalgia is not an immersion in the past, nostalgia is the first annunciation that the past as we knew it is coming to an end.

©2014 David Whyte

Excerpted from ‘NOSTALGIA’ From the upcoming book of essays CONSOLATIONS: The Solace, Nourishment and Underlying Meaning of Everyday Words.


To be human

“…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.

You are not
a troubled guest
on this earth,
you are not
an accident
amidst other accidents
you were invited
from another and greater
night
than the one
from which
you have just emerged…”

 

David Whyte

From “What to remember when waking”


I will have become

I will have become like
the madman running
to see the moon
in the window,
the hawk
I saw tracing the cliff edge
above the river.

I will be the man
I have pursued all along
and finally caught.
I will be
all my intuitions
and all my desires
and then I will walk
slowly down the steps
as if dressed in white
and wade into
the water for
a second baptism.

I will be like
someone who cannot
hide their love
but
my joy will become ordinary
and everyday
and like a lover
I will find out
exactly what it is like
to be the happiest,
the only one
in creation
to really
understand how much,
I’m just
a hair’s breadth
from dying.

David Whyte


Above all

Above all, be alone with it all,
a hiving off, a corner of silence
amidst the noise, refuse to talk
even to yourself, and stay in this place
until the current of the story
is strong enough to float you out.

Ghost then, to where others
in this place have come before,
under the hazel, by the ruined chapel,
below the cave where Coleman slept,
become the source that makes
the river flow, and then the sea
beyond. Live in this place
as you were meant to and then,
surprised by your abilities,
become the ancestor of it all,
the quiet, robust and blessed Saint
that your future happiness
will always remember.

 

Excerpt from ‘Coleman’s Bed’ in ‘River Flow:
New and Selected Poems’
©David Whyte and Many Rivers Press