David Whyte : Farewell

Poetry
30 September 2016
Share Tweet

Farewell Letter
-David Whyte

She wrote me a letter
after her death
and I remember
a kind of happy light
falling on the envelope
as I sat by the rose tree,
on her old bench
at the back door,
so surprised by its arrival,
wondering what she would say,
looking up before I could open it
and laughing to myself
in silent expectation.

"Dear son, it is time
for me to leave you.
I am afraid that the words
you are used to hearing 
are no longer mine to give,
they are gone and mingled
back in the world
where it is no longer 
in my power
to be their first
original author
nor their last
loving bearer.
You can hear
motherly
words of affection now
only from your own mouth
and only
when you speak them
to those
who stand 
motherless
before you.

As for me I must forsake
adulthood
and be bound gladly 
to a new childhood.
You must understand
this apprenticeship
demands of me
an elemental innocence
from everything 
I ever held in my hands

I know your generous soul
is well able to let me go,
you will in the end
be happy to know
my God was true
and I find myself
after loving you all for so long,
in the wide,
infinite mercy
of being mothered myself.

P. S. All your intuitions were true."