November, A Month of Remembrance - A Few Reflections 2012

November is a special time of thresholds, liminal spaces, and faith in the enduring hope that we can learn to apprehend God's mystery in some faltering imperfect way in this life.

If we just take the time to stop, to listen, to see, however dimly that may be, we can begin to feel the sense of longing for another life hereafter, and its intimations visit and grace us with so many blessings in the here and now.

I hope this music and the poems allow us to gently slip and sink a little into the deep reminders of our fleeting humanity, death and slow rebirth. This November month is a time for pondering saints and sinners and all souls. 

It is a month of remembrance that can be a heartbreaking time when we feel separated from loved ones by death. It is a time of heightened sensitivity for those we have lost and our hearts are restless for those whom we long to be reunited with.

 One of my favourite pieces of music by Mark Knopfler: " Irish Boy" from the film Cal with scenery from Ireland.

and this one "Irish Love" also from the same album Cal.


Indeed sometimes "the water does seem so wide that we cannot get o'er ", and that gulf of separation can seem particularly deep and unfathomable at this time of year.

The Water is Wide : Instrumental from Mark Knopfler

But it is my faith and firm hope that the great divide between this world and the next is sometimes able to be breached even in this one, and that those who have died are in fact with us in many ways beyond words. 

They can be very much present and alongside us even as we make our way along this long road to our eventual eternal home.

 My earlier post here had his reflection on Rainer Maria Rilke's poem,The Swan and so I decided I would do another post with a few more of David's own poems. 
I find the poetry of David Whyte especially evocative at this time of year. 

I think they have appeared elsewhere on my blog, buried somewhere in the archives. Still, no harm to put them here to read again.


 The Journey

Above the mountains
the geese turn into
the light again

Painting their
black silhouettes
on an open sky.

Sometimes everything
has to be
inscribed across
the heavens

so you can find
the one line
already written
inside you.

Sometimes it takes
a great sky
to find that

small, bright
and indescribable
wedge of freedom
in your own heart.

Sometimes with
the bones of the black
sticks left when the fire
has gone out

someone has written
something new
in the ashes of your life.

You are not leaving
you are arriving. 
(House of Belonging)

Image source Jane Glue
Artist's permission kindly given for image to appear here
Old kettle and cottage, Rackwick Bay Orkney,  by Jane Glue
Commissioned by Gill Sinclair

Everything is Waiting for You

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.
– David Whyte
from Everything is Waiting for You
©2003 Many Rivers Press

Image source

 The Opening of Eyes

That day I saw beneath dark clouds
the passing light over the water
and I heard the voice of the world speak out,
I knew then, as I had before
life is no passing memory of what has been
nor the remaining pages in a great book
waiting to be read. 

It is the opening of eyes long closed.
It is the vision of far off things
seen for the silence they hold.

It is the heart after years
of secret conversing
speaking out loud in the clear air.

It is Moses in the desert
fallen to his knees before the lit bush.
It is the man throwing away his shoes
as if to enter heaven
and finding himself astonished,
opened at last,

fallen in love with solid ground.

From Songs for Coming Home (Many Rivers Press, 1984). 

The Long Road by Mark Knopfler video shows beautiful images of the Basque country, Spain.

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