Literary Birthday - 2 November - David Whyte

Happy Birthday, David Whyte, born 2 November 1955

Sometimes it takes darkness and the sweet
confinement of your aloneness
to learn

anything or anyone
that does not bring you alive

is too small for you.
More Quotations
  1. The poet lives and writes at the frontier between deep internal experience and the revelations of the outer world. There is no going back once this frontier has been reached; a new territory is visible and what has been said cannot be unsaid.
  2. Read and admire, but then go back to first principles and ask the question yourself, in your own way. Dare to disagree.
  3. Ambition left to itself, like a Rupert Murdoch, always becomes tedious, its only object the creation of larger and larger empires of control; but a true vocation calls us out beyond ourselves; breaks our heart in the process and then humbles, simplifies and enlightens us about the hidden, core nature of the work that enticed us in the first place. We find that all along, we had what we needed from the beginning and that in the end we have returned to its essence, an essence we could not understand until we had undertaken the journey.
  4. P O E T R Y:  Language against which we have no defences.
  5. The price of our vitality is the sum of all our fears.
  6. It is always hard to believe that the courageous step is so close to us, that it is closer than we ever could imagine, that in fact, we already know what it is, and that the step is simpler, more radical than we had thought: which is why we so often prefer the story to be more elaborate, our identities clouded by fear, the horizon safely in the distance, the essay longer than it needs to be and the answer safely in the realm of impossibility.
  7. Art is the act of triggering deep memories of what it means to be fully human.
  8. The ability to speak the truth is as much the ability to describe what it is like to stand in trepidation at this door, as it is to actually go through it and become that beautifully honest spiritual warrior, equal to all circumstances, we would like to become. 
  9. At any time of life, follow your own questions; don’t mistake other people’s questions for your own.
  10. Vulnerability is not a weakness, a passing indisposition, or something we can arrange to do without. Vulnerability is not a choice. Vulnerability is the underlying, ever-present, and abiding undercurrent of our natural state. To run from vulnerability is to run from the essence of our nature. 
Sometimes everything
has to be
inscribed across
the heavens

so you can find
the one line
already written
inside you.

Whyte is an English poet of Irish extraction. His books include Crossing the Unknown Sea: Work as a Pilgrimage of Identity, House Of BelongingThe Three Marriages: Reimagining Work, Self and Relationship, Everything Is Waiting for You, Pilgrim, and The Heart Aroused: Poetry and the Preservation of the Soul in Corporate America, which topped the best-seller charts in the United States. Visit


 by Amanda Patterson. Follow her on  Facebook,  Tumblr,  Pinterest,  Google+,  LinkedIn,  and on Twitter:  @amandaonwriting


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