River Flow Revised

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Start close in,
don't take the second step
or the third,
start with the first
close in,
the step
you don't want to take.

Start with
the ground
you know,
the pale ground
beneath your feet,
your own
way of starting
the conversation.

Start with your own
give up on other
people's questions,
don't let them
smother something

To find
another's voice,
your own voice,
wait until
that voice
becomes a
private ear
to another.

Start right now
take a small step
you can call your own
don't follow
someone else's
heroics, be humble
and focused,
start close in,
don't mistake
that other
for your own.

Start close in,
don't take
the second step
or the third,
start with the first
close in,
the step
you don't want to take.


"At times gentle and peaceful, at other times, turbulent and thundering, River Flow is a magnificent collection of poetry with a vibrant voice. This beautiful book contains over one hundred fifty poems, most garnered from the author's previous works, but also including twenty-three new compositions. The table of contents organizes the poems according to topics, while noting the name of the book in which it first appeared.

David Whyte has a confident command of words, causing them to leap with emotion while drawing vivid pictures in the mind. His poems touch several dimensions of thought, from the spiritual realm to the tangible world around us. The profound and the poignant take on a heightened perception when seen through the author's eyes.

The ability of poetry to decipher our modern world is made clear throughout this book, as ideas are expressed with elegance and intuitiveness. Using this genre allows a deeper and more meaningful expression of feelings, as the themes are sensitively encased in passionate prose and lyrical language. From the petals of a flower to the purpose of life's unpredictable pathways, these words tickle the mind with tantalizing tidbits of thoughts.

To this reviewer's delight, a section of the book is devoted to Ireland. The poetry clearly captures images of the people, the politics and the impassioned personalities that make up this culture. David Whyte's words are a welcoming embrace as the "hands across the water" reach out through these pages in a gesture of friendship and familiarity.

River Flow is a graceful journey, highlighting the ebb and flow of humanity as it drifts along on words of wisdom, compassion and understanding."

                                                                                                    - In the Library Reviews

Read a review of River Flow by James Owens in Pedestal Magazine.

Link to Table of Contents


Be infinitessimal under that sky, a creature
even the sailing hawk misses, a wraith
among the rocks where the mist parts slowly.

Recall the way mere mortals are overwhelmed
by circumstance, how great reputations
dissolve with infirmity and how you,
in particular, stand a hairsbreadth from losing
everyone you hold dear.

Then, look back down the path to the north,
the way you came, as if seeing
your entire past and then south
over the hazy blue coast as if present
to a broad future.

Remember the way you are all possibilities
you can see and how you live best
as an appreciator of horizons,
whether you reach them or not.

Admit that once you have got up
from your chair and opened the door,
once you have walked out into the clean air
toward that edge and taken the path up high
beyond the ordinary, you have become
the privileged and the pilgrim,
the one who will tell the story
and the one, coming back
from the mountain,
who helped to make it.