The Sun

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This morning on the desk, facing up, a poem of Kavenagh’s celebrating a lost love.

“She was the sun,” he said, lives in the fibre of his arms, her warmth through all the years folding the old man’s hand in hers of a Sunday Dublin morning.

Sometimes reading Kavenagh I look out at everything growing so wild and faithfully beneath the sky and wonder why we are the one terrible part of creation privileged to refuse our flowing.

I know in the text of the heart the flower is our death and the first opening of the new life we have yet to imagine,

but Kavenagh’s line reminds me how I want to know that sun, and how I want to flower and how I want to claim my happiness and how I want to walk through life amazed and inarticulate with thanks.

And how I want to know that warmth through love itself, and through the sun itself.

I want to know that sun of happiness when I wake and see through my window the morning color on the far mountain.

I want to know when I lean down to the lilies by the water and feel their small and perfect reflection on my face.

I want to know that gift when I walk innocent through the trees burning with life and the green passion of the pasture’s first growth,

and I want to know as lazily as the cows that tear at the grass with their soft mouths.

I want to know what I am and what I am involved with by loving this world as I do.

And I want time to think of all the unlived lives:

those that fail to notice until it is too late,

those with eyes staring with bitterness,

and those met on the deathbed whose mouths are wide with unspoken love.

Every year they keep me faithful and help me realize there is more to lose than I thought and more at stake than I could dream.

(C) David Whyte

  • Are you refusing your own flowering? If so, how? If you could embrace it what would change?
  • The poet repeats the refrain, "I want to know..." What is it that you want to know? Write a list of ten things you're curious about. What do you notice about your list?
  • Write a poem or a prose piece about what's at stake? What is it that you don't want to lose?