I came across this poem today on Patrick Creelman’s website. I recall a yoga class ages ago when the teacher was reading this to us. The intensity of Whyte’s words strike me just as much today as they did then. I still remember how they made me feel laying there, even though I don’t remember the teacher reading the poem at the time…
It doesn’t interest me if there is one God
or many gods.
I want to know if you belong or feel
If you know despair or can 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 consequence of love
and the bitter
unwanted passion of your sure defeat.
I have heard, in that fierce embrace, even
the gods speak of God.
— David Whyte
from Fire in the Earth