The Poet


Ebey’s Landing, Whidbey Island, Washington


The following is from a free writing session the morning after attending an evening with poet David Whyte, a fundraiser for the Island Shakespeare Festival.

Writing Prompt: Drawing a blank.

I’ve got nothing. Zilch. Blankness. Worse than blankness.

Blankness always seems white to me. I think “blank” and I see white, but white is all the colors, so I guess this blankness is a kind of blackness, the total absence of something, even though the damp Whidbey Island grey morning light fills the room.

Strange to feel utterly stumped this morning, given that last evening was an evening of language, like that comfy slipper circa 1987-88, Rutgers English department.

What a singular pleasure, to sit and listen to someone of such skill with language, one person and a microphone, spinning and weaving poetry and prose and life and spirit. No need for music, set and props, or stage lighting. (Ok, so there was whiskey!)

Through closed eyes he led us on a tour of the flaggy shore off Galway Bay, the Camino de Santiago, the birthplace of a koan somewhere in Japan, even a rotten Denmark. We heard a bell, a blackbird and the lark, and I’d swear I heard a fiddle.

But, there was a shadow present.

Four rows in front of me, I could see the nape of her neck, revealed by her hair, not in some neatly braided and organized arrangement, but rather impossibly balanced atop her head and tied off roughly, somehow. Perfect. And I swear, as the poet cast his spell, I could hear her heart beating wildly across the distance between us.

In an illustrated dictionary, accompanying the word “debonair,” is a picture of this poet guy. On the illustrated dictionary website, underneath his photo, there’s a little play button, which, when clicked, plays a recording of his Yorkshire accent laced with Irish, and upon hearing him speak, you are, well, maybe just I am, besieged with jealousy.

1 thought on “The Poet

  1. “…desiring this man’s art and this man’s scope—with what I most enjoy, contented least.” Xoxo Oh that green-eyed monster. Better watch your own nape!💋

    Liked by 1 person

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