by Lorna Edwards
Born in 1955, David Whyte is an English poet. The author of nine books of poetry and four books of prose, he has created a readership and listenership in three normally mutually exclusive areas: the literate world of readings that most poets inhabit, the psychological and theological worlds of philosophical enquiry and the world of vocation, work and organizational leadership.
The following poem is in his book, Where Many Rivers Meet (1990).
Enough. These few words are enough.
If not these words, this breath.
If not this breath, this sitting here.
This opening to life
we have refused
again and again
Hearing David Whyte reading his poem, ‘Enough,’ a few years ago in Cardiff, Wales, invited me to reflect on certain ways of being in the world.
Reading it in 2019 in the context of climate change, or as David Loy has more realistically described it in his 2019 book Ecodharma as an ‘ecological crisis’, invited me to consider how to live my life differently.
Similarly, when I reflect on the poem, I understand more clearly Stephen Batchelor’s point, made in his writings and dharma talks, that one of the four tasks of a dharmic life is embracing reality, and that includes embracing our own reactivity.
‘And here he was, a little halfling from the Shire, a simple hobbit of the quiet countryside, expected to find a way where the great ones could not go, or dared not go. It was an evil fate.’
— J.R.R. Tolkien, The Two Towers