My Daughter Asleep


Carrying a child,
I carry a bundle of sleeping
future appearances.
I carry my daughter
adrift on my shoulder,
dreaming her slender dreams
and I carry her beneath the window,
watching her moon lit palm open and close
like a tiny folded map,
each line a path that leads where I can’t go,
so that I read her palm not knowing what I read
and
walk with her in moon light on the landing,
not knowing with whom I walk,
making invisible prayers to go on with her where
I can’t go,
conversing with so many unknowns that must know her more
intimately than I do.

And so to these unspoken shadows and this broad night
I make a quiet request to the great parental darkness
to hold her when I cannot, to comfort her when I am gone,
to help her learn to love the unknown for itself,
to take it gladly like a lantern for the way before her,
to help her see where ordinary light will not help her,
where happiness has fled, where faith will not reach.

My prayer tonight for the great and hidden symmetries of life
to reward this faith I have and twin her passages of loneliness with friendship,
her exiles with home coming, her first awkward steps with promised onward leaps.

May she find in all this, day or night, the beautiful centrality of pure opposites,
may she discover before she grows old, not to choose so easily between past and present,
may she find in one or the other her gifts acknowledged.

And so as I helped to name her, I help to name these powers,
I bring to life what is needed, I invoke the help she’ll want
following those moonlit lines into a future uncradled by me but parented by all I call.

As she grows away from me, may these life lines grow with her, keep her safe,
so
with my open palm whose lines have run before her to make a safer way,
I hold her smooth cheek and bless her this night into all these other unknown
nights to come.

-David Whyte

Anyone who is a parent knows these words. Knows these thoughts and these feelings that move us to spaces where we are overcome by them and its as if time stops and there is a breach somewhere, a small crack where the divine filters through to us and shines on us and in this stillness we are one with everything that is and ever will be. It is a knowing that stills us and where we expand and become greater than we once were. And thank God for that. Thank God to the Universe for breaking through to us. This precious gift delivered so reverently which can never be forgotten. Thank God to the Universe for not only parenting our children but for parenting us as well.

There is greatness beyond what we will ever know. Beyond what we can ever know. On rare occasions where dimensions are fractured we become aware of the Unknown creating not only for our children, for us as well and somehow the lesson is to find solace and comfort in this. To not be afraid of this darkness on the horizon before the sun breaks it with piercing rays of light bringing warmth, clarity and faith.

How often is the Unknown villainized and filled with coldness and hardship instead of what it really is, an old friend that brings tidings of great adventures, love and a pinch of magic. These are not lessons I learned as a child. They are only things that I have recently come to know. And even though I know this and my spiritual being knows this, the part of me that is attuned to this world and chained to its untruths wavers and becomes fearful and so easily can fall back into the old programmed thinking. It’s not a good feeling and it’s not one of a higher vibration and as much as I know this it’s like being on the outside looking in and being helpless to do anything to stop it. I think these feelings of mine get mixed up with the grief that I am still at times working through and its like seeing a car careening off the road. I can see it happening and yet all I can do is watch. I was very much experiencing this for several days where grief and the fear of the unknown overtook me until one morning I heard these words come to me, “Look up” Two simple words and I realized that it was that easy to pull myself out of the careen and instantly I looked up and the weight of everything I had been feeling lifted. I forget. As much as I think I have grown or that I know where I come from and that the unknown is really my friend and the Universe creating something grand for me, I still need to be reminded. Sometimes daily, or hourly because as much as I want to believe that I have arrived, I have never truly arrived as the world is ever transforming and so am I. I have to submit and keep submitting otherwise I become stagnant and complacent and the world is a very dull place indeed. And I thank God for the messages when I have forgotten and need reminding and I thank God that I am able to hear them and see them.

I hope to instill this in my children. What an incredibly moving and empowering gift that would be. To teach our children that the unknown is not something to be feared but to be embraced and invited in for tea and cookies and conversation that continued into the darkness until the moonlight shone it’s lovely luminous face upon this gathering of friends, blessing them and conjuring up a mystical story that would forever transform each time they met. This is grace and beauty. We are taken care of, constantly being parented by the Unknown and the knowing that our being carries within us to trust in this and ever so quietly reminding us to “Look up.”

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