David Whyte,  Events & news,  Greenfield Village and Henry Ford Musuem,  Poetry

Finding our way back home

“This is the bright home in which I live, this is where I ask my friends to come.” ~David Whyte

“Home” is a small but expansive word. What does it really mean to make a home, to feel at home, or to be at home with oneself? At the same time, the buildings we call home reflect who we are, which is why inviting people inside our homes is an intimate gesture that extends beyond basic hospitality.

My mother had a gift for creating beautiful homes, and I inherited her appreciation of the domestic arts. In a nursing facility near the end of her life, she was confined to a wheelchair and talked constantly about returning to her own home. Sadly, her failing health and memory loss made that impossible. David Whyte explores the theme of home and belonging in this beautiful poem, which my son read at my mother’s funeral. ~CL

The House of Belonging
By David Whyte

I awoke this morning in the gold light
turning this way
and that

thinking for
a moment
it was one
day
like any other.

But
the veil had gone
from my
darkened heart
and
I thought

it must have been the quiet
candlelight
that filled my room,

it must have been
the first
easy rhythm
with which I breathed
myself to sleep,

it must have been
the prayer I said
speaking to the otherness
of the night.

And
I thought
this is the good day
you could
meet your love,

this is the gray day
someone close
to you could die.

This is the day
you realize
how easily the thread
is broken
between this world
and the next

and I found myself
sitting up
in the quiet pathway
of light,

the tawny
close grained cedar
burning round
me like fire
and all the angels of this housely
heaven ascending
through the first
roof of light
the sun has made.

This is the bright home
in which I live,
this is where
I ask
my friends
to come,
this is where I want
to love all the things
it has taken me so long
to learn to love.

This is the temple
of my adult aloneness
and I belong
to that aloneness
as I belong to my life.

There is no house
like the house of belonging.


This poem is excerpted from River Flow and The House of Belonging by David Whyte. 

Photo by Cindy La Ferle

Throughout my career, I've worked as a book production editor, travel magazine editor, features writer, and weekly newspaper columnist. My award-winning lifestyles features and essays have appeared in many national magazines and anthologies, including Newsweek, Reader's Digest, The Christian Science Monitor, Writer's Digest, Victoria, Better Homes & Gardens, Bella Grace, and more. My weekly Sunday "Life Lines" column ran for 14 years in The Daily Tribune (Royal Oak, MI) and won a First Place (Local Columns) award from the Michigan Press Association. My essay collection, Writing Home, includes 93 previously published columns and essays focusing on parenthood and family life.

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