It doesn’t interest me if there is one God
or many gods.
I want to know if you belong
or feel abandoned.
If you can know despair or see it in others.
I want to know
if you are prepared to live in the world
with its harsh need
to change you. If you can look back
with firm eyes
saying this is where I stand. I want to know
if you know
how to melt into that fierce heat of living,
the center of your longing. I want to know
if you are willing
to live, day by day, with the consequences
of love and the bitter,
unwanted passion of your sure defeat.
I have heard in that fierce embrace,
even the gods speak of God.
Source: “Self Portrait” from Fire in the Earth by David Whyte. Washington:
Many Rivers Press, 1992.