July 28, 2017

He Gave me Nothing—a Poem for the Lonely, the Hungry & the Unsatisfied.

A post shared by Toby Israel (@tobyintheworld) on


“Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this too, was a gift.” ~ Mary Oliver


He Gave Me Nothing

He gave me nothing—
wrapped in Egyptian cotton
and luxuriant silk,
but nothing all the same.

I took it from him
and poured it into
my thirsty lips.

It did not slake my thirst,
but this, too, was a gift.

He gave me nothing—
less than darkness
certainly less than love
and affection.

I took it from him
and wrapped it around
my lonely hips.

It did not warm my skin,
but this, too, was a gift.

He gave me nothing—
emptiness heavy
like air
like smoke
like desire,
but empty all the same.

I took it from him
and fed it to
my hungry heart.

It did not satisfy,
but this, too, was a gift.

He gave me nothing,
but a gift all the same;
still I carry it.


Author: Toby Israel
Image: @tobyintheworld on Instagram
Editor: Sara Kärpänen
Copy Editor: Khara-Jade Warren
Social Editor: Khara-Jade Warren


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Toby in the World Nov 17, 2017 4:46am

Thank you, Molly! <3

Molly Ziraldo Jul 28, 2017 2:00pm

love this

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Toby Israel

Toby Israel is a vagabond and storyteller with a metaphorical closet full of hats. She currently works as a creative facilitator, editor, and writer, and as Chief Storyteller at NuMundo. She is also a full-time lover of movement, food, and words. For the moment, she lives in Costa Rica. (She came for a master’s degree in Media, Peace, and Conflict Studies from the UN-mandated University for Peace—and stayed for the papaya, sunshine, and conscious community.) Share her journey on her website, and on FacebookInstagram and Twitter!