Sometimes everything has to be enscribed 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. David Whyte

Writing 101- Signposts

on September 26, 2015

I have loved books and reading as long as I can remember. As an English major I studied English and American literature. At the time I wasn’t conscious of how much of classical writing is in the form of poetry. I prefered reading novels. Years later I became aware of the power of poetry when I read a novel whose name I don’t recall that quoted T.S. Eliot’s Four Quartets repeatedly. I bought and read the book of Eliot’s poetry which presented me with a fork in the road. I began a new journey guided by signposts of meaning I found in the poems.

Books of poetry were not foreign terrain for me. My mother had a copy of Edna St. Vincent Millay’s A Few Figs From Thistles that I liked to look at. However, only two short poems held meaning for me as a child. This small volume of poetry has been among my books ever since my mother died.

My copy of Four Quartets is well-worn. Narrow pieces of lime green construction paper mark passages I like especially. The theme of the poems is beginnings and endings in time. T.S. Eliot’s poetry makes spiritual and practical sense to me. I have adopted as a mantra these lines from the poem “Little Gidding”.

What we call the beginning is often the end And to make an end is to make a beginning. The end is where we start from….We shall not cease from exploration And the end of all our exploring Will be to arrive where we started And to know the place for the first time.

Several years after encountering the poetry of Eliot I went to a Women’s Study seminar. There I was introduced to the poetry of Adrienne Rich in her book The Dream of a Common Language. I have book-marked her poem “Transcendental Etude”. I included these lines as further guideposts for my living.

No one ever told us we had to study our lives, make of our lives a study, as if learning natural history or music, that we should begin with the simple exercises first and slowly go on trying the hard ones, practicing till strength and accuracy became one with the daring to leap into transcendence.

About ten years ago I went to a seminar called Body and Soul where I heard David Whyte read his poetry. In the poem “The Journey” included in his book The House of Belonging I found lines that further traced my path as I am beginning to understand it.

Sometimes everything has to be enscribed 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.

Whyte’s words are the theme of my blog. My previous theme was the Ghanaian saying ” You don’t know where you are going. You don’t know how to get there. And you arrive just the same”. I experience this over time  as how things fall into place for me in ways I would have never imagined.

15 responses to “Writing 101- Signposts

  1. Silver Threading says:

    What a fabulous collection of thoughts, Viva. This is beautiful and quite moving. I love poetry and find your words to be spot on! ❤

  2. jabrush1213 says:

    Love all of the thoughts.

  3. vivachange77 says:

    Thanks, Colleen. It feels good to hear that we are on the same wavelink about poetry. ❤

  4. artseafartsea says:

    Enjoyed your Post.

  5. JoHanna Massey says:

    Wonderful posts. I must seek out the Four Quartets. Thanks for the recommendation.

  6. Yummy! Can’t wait to read your recommendations. Wonderful article.

  7. Loved reading this. And I loved Eliot, too.

  8. Blogging has opened my space up to enjoying and reading the poetry of other bloggers. Thank you, today, for opening my space up to poetry with “beginning and ending in times.

  9. vivachange77 says:

    I’m glad I help you enjoy poetry. You’re welcome.

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