Credit – mobiletoones

Courage is a word that tempts us to think outwardly, to run bravely against opposing fire, to do something under besieging circumstance, and perhaps, above all, to be seen to do it in public, to show courage; to be celebrated in story, rewarded with medals, given the accolade, but a look at its linguistic origins leads us in a more interior direction and toward its original template, the old Norman French, Coeur, or heart.

Courage is the measure of our heartfelt participation with life, with another, with a community, a work, a future. To be courageous, is not necessarily to go anywhere or do anything except to make conscious those things we already feel deeply and then to live through the unending vulnerabilities of those consequences. To be courageous is to seat our feelings deeply in the body and in the world: to live up to and into the necessities of relationships that often already exist, with things we find we already care deeply about: with a person, a future, a possibility in society, or with an unknown that begs us on and always has begged us on. Whether we stay or whether we go – to be courageous is to stay close to the way we are made.

– David Whyte, from Readers’ Circle Essay, “Courage”; ©2011 David Whyte

today’s questions


“When we consider yesterday’s answers more important than today’s questions, we fail both the past and the future….Never refuse to ask a question however unwelcome the question may be. In the end, it may be the only thing that saves us from our own ignorance. To keep growing, it is imperative to keep asking the forbidden questions.” –Joan Chittister, OSB

fall song

On the rise of wind she sniffs,
nose twitching as it follows what I cannot
though I see excitement,
lithe leaps into frosty air, her shadow
dance among leaves that crunch crisply
beneath my feet – nearly silent under hers

flying gazelle-like over log and under branch
squirrel-bound – as I, earthbound, walk
my spirit soaring free with hers; the brilliant
orange about her neck gleams leaflike
flitting free in circles, swirling, entire
treefall tumbling at once, twirling
down; yet she runs, runs circles,

returns, fleet and frisky, impatient
for each new moment as if she could swallow
entire seasons in one gulp, she glides, gallops
points, returns, endless and effortless in her work,
this work of play in mid-autumn woods,
midway between summers’ light
and winter’s dark, in this late afternoon
glow of setting sun settling
into calmer pace, one she’s not yet
ready to receive; while I recall my
younger Self, revel in remembered bounce
of youthful vigor and delight in autumn’s
edging amber light.


tumble of matins

Savonarola's preaching attracted huge crowds t...

Sunday morning’s tumble of matins
churning in a circular waterfall
of celebration, an invitation
to enter the day’s flow whispered

from passing cars to the muffled
bark, hushed tones of Sunday
a tentative kiss, an open welcome
to explore Florence in slow time

a gentle waltz of sound turning
‘round the town, the smooth
warmth of coffee urging us
sights, senses in tow

for the filling and tasting that awaits
our eagerness, anticipations
grateful and gratified
at every turn.