Happy Winter Solstice! As the days shorten here in the northern hemisphere, I’ve been reading poems about the dark. It turns out that this a popular topic among our poet friends. Emily Dickinson claims “we grow accustomed to the dark when light is put away,” and Rilke declares that he loves darkness “more than all the fires that fence in the world.” While there are many beautiful poems on this topic, one of my favorites is “Sweet Darkness” by David Whyte.
When your eyes are tired
the world is tired also.
When your vision has gone,
no part of the world can find you.
Time to go into the dark
where the night has eyes
to recognize its own.
There you can be sure
you are not beyond love.
The dark will be your womb
The night will give you a horizon
further than you can see.
You must learn one thing.
The world was made to be free in.
Give up all the other worlds
except the one to which you belong.
Sometimes it takes darkness and the sweet
confinement of your aloneness
anything or anyone
that does not bring you alive
is too small for you.
Have a minute? Listen to Davide Whyte read “Sweet Darkness”:
Which lines resonate with you?
- When your eyes are tired the world is tired also. When you’re wearing dark-colored glasses, you tend to see the world as dark. What helps you see again when your eyes are tired?
- Give up all the other worlds except the ones to which you belong. These are powerful words. What are some of the worlds to which you belong? Which worlds no longer bring you alive?
What’s your relationship with the dark? I find the dark comforting, and I look forward to the dark of December each year as a time to recharge. The world feels smaller, and the darkness means fewer distractions.
“Sweet Darkness” by David Whyte from The House of Belonging, 1997. Copyrighted material used for educational purposes.
Photo: Sweet Darkness by Yoga Sidsel