The Lightest Touch

Usually I write maybe one piece a day and then post it to my blog but today I was struck by the opening sentence of David Whyte’s poem, The Lightest Touch; “Good poetry begins with the lightest touch.” For some reason this has been rattling around in my head since I first read it this morning and these thoughts are aching to jump out onto the page. It’s not like I have any great insight but just reading that one line evoked such a deep feeling, one that I cannot ignore.

I am not a poet, okay, I’ve sort of dabbled with it lately but still I have no idea what is a poem, to clarify, what is it to write a poem. Just writing prose like this is a struggle, my thoughts jump from one thing to another as my brain feels more like a Mexican jumping bean of conflicting emotions. Yet, as I read that one sentence I felt something different, something that touched a very deep part of my being. “Good poetry begins with the lightest touch,” when I read this I begin to envision my words that start deep within the core of who I am, ready to erupt but yet still cooking away. My own insecurities and fears played out onto the pages of what I write and on the pages of my life. It doesn’t need to take a mental bulldozer to crack the crust into my thoughts but that lightest touch, those deep feelings that make my heart jump and can even bring a tear to the eye.

I never know when this light touch will strike, it could be as simple as watching the flowers in the garden beginning to bloom or a conversation caught on the wind. Expressions of love, a couple holding hands, an old person standing alone before a gravestone whispering to the unseen that lies within. These are those moments of that lightest touch, suddenly images float across the screen, some starting out like old flip picture books, a single sheet that gives way to the motion that lies just inside. I truly envy those who seem to just sit down and then create in words a grand motif that carries one to other places and draws them into the scene. Mind, body and soul all working in a unison of deep faith drawing us closer to that which gives us life. Simple words, a light touch of the pen to paper that sets the imagination on fire as the crust on the heart gives way to the eruption of feelings.

The poet goes on to say that, “In the silence that follows a great line, you can feel Lazarus, deep inside even the laziest, most deathly afraid part of you, lift up his hands and walk toward the light.” I have yet to write that great line, at least nothing has ever jumped out at me and the Lazarus that lies deep within me still lies there, wrapped in his funeral linens waiting to hear the voice that calls him out of the dark. Maybe, one day my words will mean more than just the paper they are written on, maybe one day I will write that one sentence that will free my inner self. Maybe, the time will come when I will be able to shed the funeral linens that bind my heart and allow my inner self to know the warmth of the light that gives life.

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