Friday, March 16, 2012

David Whyte’s “Fire in the Earth: Poems”

Over at TweetSpeak Poetry, we’ve been reading The Heart Aroused: Poetry and the Preservation of the Soul in Corporate America. Not coincidentally, Whyte has a book of poems entitled Fire in the Earth (same title as chapter 3 of The Heart Aroused) that contains poetic renderings of much of what he covers in the book.

In fact, Fire in the Earth is a kind of workbook for The Heart Aroused, or perhaps The Heart Aroused is a kind of commentary on the poems. Either way, to read them together is to know and experience what Whyte is describing in the non-fiction work and what he is saying in the poems.

The volume is divided into four sections – Fire in the Body, Fire in the Voice (also a chapter title in The Heart Aroused), Fire in the Quiet and Fire in the Mountains. Each section contains poems that anticipate or amplify the ideas in his book.

In “The Husk of Your Voice” and all of the poems in the Fire in the Voice section, the poet explores the creativity of the human voice, more the spoken expression of the creativity in the soul:

The husk of your voice
is like a chrysalis
grown round something
waiting to be born
and waiting for you
to stop.

What is inside
Want you to know itself fully
Before it is born…

“Whether or not we try to tell the truth,” Whyte says in The Heart Aroused, “the very act of speech is courageous because not matter what we say, we are revealed.”

This is what I find so personal about poetry – the writing of poetry is revealing to a greater extent than other kinds of writing, with the possible exception of the formal speech (and poetry and speeches are intimately related). Poetry and speeches are revealing, removing the disguises we often place in other forms of communications and expression.

The poems in Fire in the Earth are all of this, and more – a revealing of the depths of the soul from which creativity, and the creative urge, spring.



Maureen said...

Such an interesting juxtaposition: husk and chrysalis, the former dry outer shell, the latter the changing inside and yet unrevealed.

Anonymous said...

the desire for communication
and the creative urge
run side by side, and
are very much a part of
how i was made.
do you think that is part of
us being made in His image?