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Nine Encouragements


from the Latin – to make happy


Vincent on the balcony, looking through Catherine's open door
Catherine seeing Vincent on her balcony
Catherine at her open balcony door, greeting Vincent

I thought we could co inside. There’s a fire.

Indeed … a fire.

This night, the telephone will not ring. There are no watchers, save those who might be looking on … and smiling.

They have endured much; they have gone with courage and with care. Truly, there was ever only one direction – toward love – but their journey to this moment, to this happy life, was lesson-filled. Time and tide have taught them well.

Their love is a gift, one that touches the best in all of us. And so, from them we should take heart and be encouraged to …


Vincent sitting alone, thinking
Catherine, alone on her balcony, obviously pensive


David Whyte

Sometimes simplicity rises
like a blossom of fire
from the white silk of your own skin.

You were there in the beginning
you heard the story, you heard the merciless
and tender words telling you where you had to go.

Exile is never easy and the journey
itself leaves a bitter taste. But then,
when you heard that voice, you had to go.

You couldn’t stay by the fire, you couldn’t live
so close to the live flame of that compassion,
you had to go out in the world and make it your own

so you could come back with
that flame in your voice, saying listen …
this warmth, this unbearable light, this fearful love …

It is all here, it is all here.

From Fire In The Earth. Many Rivers Press. 1999.


even with yourself

Catherine on her balcony, reading from her book of sonnets, a look of concern on her face
Catherine, entreating Vincent to listen to her, even as he turns away


David Whyte

When your eyes are tired
the world is tired also.

When your vision has gone
no part of the world can find you.

Time to go into the dark
where the night has eyes
to recognize its own.

There you can be sure
you are not beyond love.

The dark will be your womb tonight.

The night will give you a horizon
further than you can see.

You must learn one thing –
the world was made to be free in.

Give up all the other worlds
except the one to which you belong.

Sometimes it takes darkness and the sweet confinement of your aloneness
to learn

anything or anyone
that does not bring you alive

is too small for you.

From The House of Belonging. Many Rivers Press. 2002. 


Vincent showing Mouse the crystal he found for Catherine's necklace
Mouse asking Vincent about love, while Vincent holds the crystal

What’s it like … to have a love?



Meister Eckhart

All day long a little burro labors, sometimes
with heavy loads on her back and sometimes just with worries
about things that bother only

And worries, as we know, can be more exhausting
than physical labor.

Once in a while a kind monk comes
to her stable and brings
a pear, but more
than that,

he looks into the burro’s eyes and touches her ears

and for a few seconds the burro is free
and even seems to laugh,

because love does

Love Frees. 



Anna Katherine Green

Not the wind
But the soft sunshine best constrains the bud
To ope its delicate leaves. Of all the words
Of gentle courtesy and deep regard
With which I come full laden to your side,
I will but proffer one. Accept this, dear,
The choicest of my store, the rose of speech,
The sweet, I love you, which has been the gem
Of every language since the first fond hour
That woman’s smile became a good man’s heaven.


Vincent and Catherine in a reunited embrace, standing in the light of the park tunnel entrance


Conrad Aiken

Whatever loveliness is in this music,
Whatever yearning after lovely things –
Whatever crying after stars, in darkness,
Whatever beating of impeded wings:

Whatever climbing of the rose to sunlight,
Sweet-hearted laugh from the dark blind sod:
Whatever madness of the sea for moonlight,
Whatever yearning of the good to God:

All that is beautiful, and all that looks on beauty
with eyes filled with fire, like a lover’s eyes:
All of this is yours; you gave it to me, sunlight!
All these stars are yours; you gave them to me, skies!


Vincent in emotional distress, he and Catherine clasping hands on her balcony

What I have to tell you isn’t beautiful.


Mary Oliver

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting –
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.


In Vincent's Chamber, Catherine and Vincent gaze on Kristopher's painting
Vincent and Catherine gaze even more intently, smilingly on Kristopher's painting


Joyce Kilmer

If I had lived down underneath the earth,
And you had dwelt among the pleasant stars,
I should have flown the caverns of my birth,
And you have riven Heaven’s silver bars.

We owe no gratitude to wanton chance,
For not through him does heart cleave fast to heart.
Not time nor place nor any circumstance,
Could keep our lips, our breasts, our souls apart.


a close-up of Vincent, during the rosebush scene on Catherine's balcony, his look of passion
From the rosebush scene, a close-up of Catherine, as she gazes up at Vincent with contained but sultry passion


Maxwell Bodenheim

An old silver church in a forest
Is my love for you.
The trees around it
Are words that I have stolen from your heart.
An old silver bell, the last smile you gave,
Hangs at the top of my church.
It rings only when you come through the forest
And stand beside it.
And then, it has no need for ringing,
For your voice takes its place.


Catherine's candlelit - but empty - terrace

An empty terrace. The doors half-open.
Candles flickering in the soft breeze, in concert with the stars.

A beautiful sight.

And so, lastly



Vincent and Catherine standing inside her bedroom, at the window, the daylight streaming through the curtains


John O’Donohue

I give thanks for arriving
Safely in a new dawn,
For the gift of eyes
To see the World,
The gift of mind
To feel at home in my life.
The waves of possibility
Breaking on the shore of dawn,
The harvest of the past
That awaits my hunger,
And all the furtherings
This new day will bring.


From To Bless the Space Between Us. Doubleday. 2008.


Author’s Note: This project was originally created for WFOL 2013. To hear the verses read aloud by participating fans, visit the 2013 Poem of the Day.



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