Tessa, My Truth

atonement letter


Photo via Magpie Tales

Listening. Even if all seems dubious.
Tessa, I’m no nihilist and so I’ve got
to believe, to be held in thrall–
no matter how outrageous,
and somewhere there’s got to be
where your truth becomes mine.

In a world where we each makes up
our fictions, maybe seeking secret
accolades. Well, not another mass
hysteria, or the scream, or just
namby-pamby talk. We’re markedly this
or other. All’s a kind of madness.

There, I’ve written another letter.
And in my best Keira Knightley disguise,
acted the part of an apostle, stood by
the postbox in a quiet English town–
Manchester probably–sun drying up puddles,
saying iloveyouiloveyouiloveyou.

Prompt: Well, the prompt would be: what’s your truth? With a little help from Magpie Tales? With or without. You get to decide. You get to decide what’s your truth in your poem. You. Not anyone else but you. Your truth. Sorry this is all you get. Truth can be rather skimpy. Theme of the new Spring/Summer 2016 issue? Clue this!


All the true vows
are secret vows
the ones we speak out loud
are the ones we break.

There is only one life
you can call your own
and a thousand others
you can call by any name you want.

Hold to the truth you make
every day with your own body,
don’t turn your face away.

Hold to your own truth
at the center of the image
you were born with.

Those who do not understand
their destiny will never understand
the friends they have made
nor the work they have chosen

nor the one life that waits
beyond all the others.

By the lake in the wood
in the shadows
you can
whisper that truth
to the quiet reflection
you see in the water.

Whatever you hear from
the water, remember,

it wants to carry
the sound of its truth on your lips.

in this place
no one can hear you

and out of the silence
you can make a promise
it will kill you to break,

that way you’ll find
what is real and what is not.

I know what I am saying.
Time almost forsook me
and I looked again.

Seeing my reflection
I broke a promise
and spoke
for the first time
after all these years

in my own voice,

before it was too late
to turn my face again.

~ David Whyte ~


4 thoughts on “Tessa, My Truth

  1. “I’m no nihilist, so I’ve got to believe.”
    I believe I’ll say these words the next time someone asks me why I believe in anything in spite of all evidence that there is nothing.

    cie from poetryofthenetherworld dot blogspot dot com


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