For times when our words are too small

Do you know those times when you have something to say but can’t find the words?

When what you are sensing feels expansive, yet your words barely cover the edges? Like a sheet that doesn’t reach your feet.

Yes. Me too.

And I don’t think this concerns a lack of vocabulary.

T S Eliot discerned this nearly a century ago when he wrote:

“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language and next year’s words await another voice.”

from Little Gidding, Four Quartets

While we could hang around and wait for someone to create new entries for the dictionary, I think this is a poetic gap.

We need the poet’s gift. Those who see with different eyes and express with words that we hear with our hearts and souls before our minds.

And as we are in this time of waiting – the Advent anticipation – perhaps it’s an excellent opportunity to tune our ears to a different song.


Welcome, stranger. Come in. Lay down.
Let us remove this burden of light
that you have carried around for too long.

It is not the darkness that has blinded you.

But now, free from the glare,
you can let your eyes adjust.
Now, sheltered from all that knowing,
you can sit within the shadows’ strange conferring.
Together we will light a candle–
not to vanquish the dark,
but to further articulate it.

Here may you find the wisdom of winter.
Here may you unlearn the folly of a life
that always climbs the mountain,
that believes in accumulation,
that does not join God as she too lies fallow–
as she too opens herself
to absence.

+ Gideon Heugh, from Darkling: An Advent Journey, 2022

It is time to be more poet.

Pause. See differently. Re-story 🌿

This week

A few good words

Loss, Yearning, Transcendence – this was the extraordinary conversation between the musician, writer and actor Nick Cave and Krista Tippett for the last On Being podcast of the season. Laced with Nick’s songs and a depth of exchange we rarely hear over the airwaves. I had to listen twice…

And if you want a beautiful poetic companion for this Advent journey, then who better than Gideon Heugh’s Darkling? A few of us walked through Advent together as a group last year using this little book. And it was rather special.