Lost in translation

June 5, 2009

Recently, we have been talking about Rilke’s poem – You Darkness – and the various translations – and how metaphors translate from one language to another. I mentioned how much I love to hear David Whyte reading the poem in German – that even though I don’t understand German – there is something in the way he speaks – and knowing the intent of the poem – it feels deeply stirring to hear the words. Something like when mass was said in Latin – and it so so much easier for me to feel the presence of the Mystery in those beautiful expressions.

So this morning – in popped an announcement of a workshop that David is giving and the announcement linked to this review of his new book.

I have most of his books of poetry and a couple of his prose books – but where David really shines is when you listen to him talk – I have a video of him speaking at a Common Boundary gathering – and at times – I have needed him to remind me that “the world is holding its breath – waiting for you to fill the only place that you can fill.” That statement so aligns with my own beliefs about our soul gifts and how we live them out into the world.

There is so much wisdom in his audio recordings – I keep them in the car and listen as I go from place to place – The Poetry of Self Compassion, Sweet Darkness, The Echo in the Well, and Clear Mind, Wild Heart are the ones that I have listened to so far. There are certain phrases that stick in my mind, and echo through the day.

My days are better for having poets in the world.

My days are better for having David Whyte in the world.

My days are better.



  1. David Whyte has woven in and out of my life over the past few years, with gifts of his books appearing, and last year, the gift of some CDs. I listened and was entranced by his voice as I drove through California. There is a special quality in his way of reading.

    You’ve reminded me to return. To spend more time with his work. To see when he’s in Ireland again.

  2. Well said……..and thank you for reminding me of the same in my own blog. David Whyte is one of my favorite poets. Blessings at the Solstice!

    What is precious
    inside us does not
    care to be known
    by the mind
    in ways that diminish
    its presence.

    What we strive for
    in perfection
    is not what turns us
    into the lit angel
    we desire

    (from “The House of Belonging”)

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