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Everything is Waiting for You by David Whyte

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Everything is Waiting for You
David Whyte

After Derek Mahon

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.


I can’t count how many great mistakes I have. There are people who live their lives with no regrets—and I am not one of them. My list of regrets grows as long as my arm, perhaps more, each one painful and haunting but also well-worn, as if a stone I worry over and over with my hand, telling me what I need to learn from.

I used to think I could make it alone. I have resigned myself to my own company, thinking, yes, that’ll do. But then.

Is feeling alone a form of denial, overlooking the many ways our surroundings intimately interact with us?

What things in your life metamorphose into mentors and gateways, embodying lessons, fears, and invitations? I have a spice rack in my kitchen that has fallen down, and every time I look at it, I think of all the things I haven’t done, my life sideways, whispering, “mend me, mend me.”

There’s an urge to be part of the ongoing conversation with the world. Every day the sun waits to set by my window and I suppose it wouldn’t hurt to meet it.

River Flow: New & Selected Poems by David WhyteSOURCE

This poem appeared in River Flow: New & Selected Poems by David Whyte, published by Many Rivers Press, 2012. Shared here with profound gratitude. .


“This newly revised edition contains the most up to date versions of poems from David’s first five volumes of poetry: Songs for Coming Home, Where Many Rivers Meet, Fire in the Earth, The House of Belonging and Everything is Waiting for You, as well as the latest versions of the new poems that originally appeared in the first edition of River Flow.”


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