Language Against Which We Have No Defenses

About David

Poet, philosopher, speaker.

Behind each of these approaches lies a very physical attempt to give voice to the wellsprings of human identity, human striving and, most difficult of all, the possibilities for human happiness.

Featured writing


The ultimate touchstone of friendship is not improvement, neither of the other nor of the self, the ultimate touchstone is witness, the privilege of having been seen by someone and the equal privilege of being granted the sight of the essence of another, to have walked with them and to have believed in them, and sometimes just to have accompanied them for however brief a span, on a journey impossible to accomplish alone.

from "Friendship" in Consolations

Featured writing

Start Close In

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 to begin
the conversation.

from "Start Close In" in David Whyte: Essentials

Featured writing

The Well of Grief

Those who will not slip beneath
the still surface on the well of grief,

turning down through its black water,
to the place we cannot breathe,

will never know the source fro which we drink,
the secret water cold and clear,

nor find in the darkness glimmering,
the small round coins,
thrown by those who wished for something else.

from "The Well of Grief" in River Flow: New & Selected Poems

Featured writing


is a way of staying alive. Hiding is a way of holding ourselves until we are ready to come into the light. Hiding is one of the brilliant and virtuoso practices of almost every part of the natural world: the protective quiet of an icy northern landscape, the held bud of a future summer rose, the snow-bound internal pulse of the hibernating bear. Hiding is underestimated. We are hidden by life in our mother's womb until we grow and ready ourselves for our first appearance in the lighted world; to appear too early in that world is to find ourselves with the immediate necessity for outside intensive care...

from "Hiding" in Consolations

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Explore David's writing and speaking, and learn more about upcoming events, leadership retreats and the Three Sundays Series.


Poetry & Prose

For over 35 years David's poetry and prose has investigated the way the invisible elements of human life converse with our visible endeavors; anchored in the understanding that at its essence, the human life is both deeply solitary and profoundly communal.

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Three Sundays Series

Join David for three 60-minute online sessions in a given month. Exploring a new theme in each series, David brings his unique blend of poetry, storytelling and philosophy. Session recordings are available for all registered attendees.

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View upcoming and online events. When available, live-streamed event recordings will be made available to both onsite and virtual attendees.

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The David Whyte Companion

The David Whyte Companion Library will provide subscribers with access to the complete collection of David's poetry and essays, as well as select videos, past Three Sundays Series and featured recorded talks. More information coming soon.
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