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Black Elk

The Shell

May 8th, 2015

fpx08850A beautiful poem by David Whyte:

An open sandy shell
on the beach
empty but beautiful
like a memory
of a protected previous self.
The most difficult griefs,
ones in which
we slowly open
to a larger sea, a grander
sweep that washes
all our elements apart.

So strange the way
we are larger
in grief
than we imagined
we deserved or could claim
and when loss floods
into us
like the long darkness it is
and the old nurtured hope
is drowned again
even stranger then
at the edge of the sea
to feel the hand of the wind
laid on our shoulder
reminding us
how death grants
a fierce and fallen freedomseashell

away from the prison
of a constant
and continued presence,
how in the end
those who have left us
might no longer need us
with all our tears
and our much needed
measures of loss
and that their own death
is as personal
and private
as that life of theirs
which you never really knew,
and another disturbing thing,
that exultation
is possible
without them.

And they for themselves
in fact
are glad to have let go
of all the stasis
and the enclosure
and the need for them to love
like some prisoner
that you only wanted
to remain incurious
and happy in your love
never looking for the key
never wanting to
turn the lock and walk
like the wind
unneedful of you,

~ David Whyte from Everything is Waiting for You


5 Responses to “The Shell”

  1. That is absolutely wonderful Philip. Says exactly what I feel. Oh wait – you didn’t write it! Never mind, you found it – almost as difficult! Brilliant, thank you xx

  2. The book of nature revealing and reflecting stories of our being…well and beautifully read.

  3. Thank you for sharing. Having read over this what struck me was the sharing and alternative perspective. Ive always viewed shells as pretty things and never quite registered that they are empty vessels but part of an ocean….now im struck with a lightness knowing and remembering once again whose loved and departed how the jouurney continues for each of us.

  4. Truthful and surprising poem which goes a lot further than simple grief and longing. I like it.

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