ADMIT by David Whyte

Admit, that once you have got up
from your chair and opened the door, 
once you have walked out into the clear air
toward that edge and taken the path up high
beyond the ordinary you have become
the privileged and the pilgrim,
the one who will tell the story
and the one, coming back from the mountain
who helped to make it.

David Whyte

From MAMEEN, River Flow: New and Selected Poem.

I would love to tell a story about this house.  It's the first I've fallen in love with, in years and years.

My Home.jpg

Ho sceso, dandoti il braccio ...

These stairs reminded me of the poem, by Ligurian poet, Eugenio Montale.  I love his poetry, like I love the work of Pablo Neruda, Hone Tuwhare, and Taha Muhammad Ali too.

I even hunted down a book of his poetry, with translations to English.  I've been told it's almost impossible to experience the full depth of meaning in translation but I love what understand of him.

Here's the poem I thought of today, when I looked back up at the stairs I had come down ... Ho sceso, dandoti il braccio… in translation :-)

I descended, with you on my arm…

I descended, with you on my arm, at least a million stairs

and now that you are not here every step is emptiness.

In any case our long journey was too brief.

Mine continues even now, no longer in need

of coincidences, reservations,

ploys, and the scorn of those who believe

that reality is what we perceive.

I descended millions of stairs with you on my arm

not only because four eyes perhaps see more.

With you I descended those stairs because I knew

the only real pupils, although terribly dimmed,

belonged to you.

(from “Satura”, 1971)

Translation by ©Matilda Colarossi

I Met This Man While At The Wedding In Norway ... this poet, this writer

We met after the wedding, as he photographed a particular gate there at the church.  He told me the story of the place where he and his wife were married, and how the gate reminded him of it.

I mentioned that he reminded me of someone. 

He suggested James Joyce. 

I said, 'Maybe', as I rummaged round in my memory for images of Joyce.

It turns out, everyone else said he was Elton John ... 20 years ago.  I didn't really look at Elton then but perhaps.  There is a story about a carriage full of people on the Tube, or a train, thinking precisely that about him.

You can decide.

But perhaps he is simply one of those people who allow you to feel like you've known him a long time, and you respond to that.

On the day after the wedding, I wandered over to his website, and found this poem.  I love it.

An extract, from Out of Shape Sonnet:

This is one of those tuneless songs of hope
A father scatters out into the universe
Because he wants the best for his child;
Independence,
Success of the non-material kind,
And, above all, happiness,
Happiness of the forever kind
.

And then, Ren had a copy of his book, Bee Bones.  You can buy a signed copy over here.

I read enough, between processing the wedding photographs, to know I'll find my own copy now that I'm back in the UK.  I reached that point where the father and son have just begun their journey ...

His book, Dead Men, was nominated for the Guardian First Book Award.  It's another to hunt down, sooner or later.

A review:
Washington Independent Review of Books, 18 June 2012
Who said literary works tend to be boring? This debut novel by Richard Pierce proves a poetically written narrative can also be riveting and engrossing.
This is not a lengthy novel and the author uses every word, sentence and verbal image to craft and layer his themes. This is a love story, a historical novel, a polar expedition and a ghostly tale. From an initial improbability, page after page draws the reader in.  As the author’s first effort at full-length fiction, it is a notable success. I highly recommend this novel.

Arthur Kerns.

You can read more on his website.

I met this man, and his wife, at the wedding and they are, so very kindly, allowing me to use the photographs I took of them.  

Richard Pierce was born in Doncaster in 1960.
 
He was educated in Germany, and at the University of Cambridge.

He now lives in Suffolk with Marianne and their four children.

Richard is a novelist, poet and painter, and administers two charities

He has a Youtube channel, and an Amazon author's page too, if you would like to know more.

And so it goes ...

I'm realising how extraordinarily privileged I am, in terms of people I know.  I have so many unplanned adventures gifted to me, like Norway.  And friends who simply step up next to me when they see I need help ... because I'm not good at asking.

When I head off on these adventures, I'm only packing my camera, my laptop and myself, nothing more usually.  And best of all, I get meet more marvelous people who often become new friends.

And so it goes.

These days in Norway have been spent on the edge of Ren and Egil's world, sharing the house with their lovely friends ... Becky and Japhet, Joshua & Jonah.   

And at their wedding I met some of the 'legends' I had heard stories about, people I was so glad to finally meet ... like Lydia Lápidus Radlow, who is as marvelous, or perhaps more marvelous, than I could have imagined.

I met and photographed Richard Pierce, the writer and poet, and count myself extraordinarily fortunate to have been introduced to his writing.  I have been dipping in and out of one his books, Bee Bones - 'sharing' it with Becky (whenever she puts it down) but will buy my own copy when I'm back home.

I met Richard while he was photographing an iron gate at the church and then photographed both he and his beautiful wife, more than a few times.

So many people met on this visit.  I had the luck to sit next to Kjetil and Sølve, with Odd, Marianne, and Kristin, making the dinner so very enjoyable.

And then there is Sissel, captured in the photograph at the top of this post.  Isn't she truly divine.  And her husband, that guy from Scotland, I adored him too, and his stories.

This morning, Marcelle messaged me, offering to pick me up from the airport when I return to England and I almost cried with gratitude.  I had mapped out my route, and was fine with it but to be picked up and taken home ...that's truly unexpected.   And so very very kind.

And so it goes ...

MID LIFE WOMAN, BY David Whyte

Mid life woman
you are not
invisible to me.
I seem to see
beneath your face
all the women
you have ever been.

Midlife woman
I have grown with you
secretly,
in another parallel,
breathing with you
as you breathed,
seeing with you
as you see,
lining my face
with an earned care
as you lined yours,
waiting for you
as it seems
you waited for me.

Mid life woman
I see your
inner complexion
breathing beneath
your outward gaze,
I see all your lives
and all your loves,
it must be for you
that I wanted to become
more generous,
a better man
than ever I could be
when young,
let me join all your
present giving
and all your receiving,
through you I learn
the full imagination
of every previous affection.

Mid life woman
you are not invisible to me,
in you
I see a young girl,
lifting her face to the sky,
I see the young woman
in haloed light,
full and strong,
standing before
the altar of time,
waiting for her chosen.

I see the mother in you,
in your past
or in some yet
to be understood
future,
I see you
adoring and
I see you adored,
and now,
when I call your name
I want to see
day by day,
the woman
you will become
with me.

Mid-life woman
come to me now,
I see you more clearly
than all
the airbrushed
girls of the world.

I became a warrior
only to earn
your present
mature affection,
I bear my scars to you,
my eyes are lined
to smile with you
and I come to you
uncultivated
and unshaven
walking rough
and wild through rain
and wind and I pace
the mountain
all night
in my happy,
magnificence
at finding you.

Mid life woman,
In the dark of the night
I take you in my arms
and in that embracing
invisibility feel all of your
inner lives made touchable
and visible again.

Mid-life woman
I have earned
my ability to adore you.

Mid life woman
you are not invisible to me.
Come to me now
and let me kiss passionately
all the beautiful women
who have
ever lived in you.

My promise
is to you now
and all their future lives.

MID LIFE WOMAN from, 'THE SEA IN YOU' :
Twenty Poems of Requited and Unrequited Love’
© David Whyte and Many Rivers Press


Now Available at davidwhyte.com
or amazon.com

I Have This Friend ... this magical wild woman whom I adore.

Pippa popped up on my Facebook wall, after we'd been chatting over there.  She wrote, and her words melted my funny little Kiwi heart.  She had written me a poem.   Memories from long ago during that first divorce of mine. 

We used to talk for hours back then.  Epic talks.  And beach-walks with that beautiful Labrador of mine - still much missed.  We talked wise woman talk ... tough but so good.  So clear.  That's the 'shit' she talks of .. .the times when we almost derailed our friendship.  Crying or laughing. then simply talking our way back to being comrades, sisters, best friends forever.

She wrote:

Hey Di... miss you as always... just about to retire for the night. But our little conversation here tonight sparked me. So here is a wee gift for you... of course I haven't edited, so rough as always, but from the heart. Love you xxx

Who wouldn't love her right back.  I'll even forgive her reference to that time, while moving a mattress, it collapsed under me as I leaned on it.  She almost died laughing as I face-planted on the shag pile carpet.  My head bounced off the floor on impact!!! 

(Fortunately some red wine may have been consumed.)

If I'd died ...!!  I told her.  Later.  After the laughter had stopped convulsing her body, the laughter that had rendered her speechless.

(She couldn't have called an ambulance.  I swear it.  I would have just died ... there on the floor. with her laughing too hard to give the address.)

How we laughed, back then, in the land of long ago.

Her poem ...

DI

Couldn’t resist
Sorry e hoa
To share such a rampant line:
Delicious as red-wine face-planting mattress-miss
Singing along
To magic music
Veins running red

Life-saving walks on beaches
Dog like abandon
Almost rolling in our own shit
To come out clean
Conversations shredding our lives
From before conception
And beyond limits

Dreaming outrageous dreams
That have come true
Faltered
Disintegrated
To make room for the exquisite chaos
Of life

Before death claims me
I know without doubt
I have lived!
Fearless
And fearful
In spite of
Because of

I will die a complete woman
Defeated, humiliated
To arise
Phoenix-like
To seize the dawn before anyone else is awake

Your smile, our clowning, stumbling shared
Moments
Brilliant jewels in the kaleidoscope
Of my life