Sunday, November 14, 2021

revelation must be terrible

Revelation must be
  terrible with no time left
to say goodbye.

Imagine that moment,
  staring at the still waters,
with only the brief tremor

of your body to say
  you are leaving everything
and everyone you know behind.

Being far from home is hard, but you know,
  at least we are all exiled together.
When you open your eyes to the world

you are on your own for
  the first time.  No one is
even interested in saving you now

and the world steps in
  to test the calm fluidity of your body
from moment to moment,

as if it believed you could join
  its vibrant dance
of fire and calmness and final stillness.

As if you were meant to be exactly 
  where you are, as if, 
like the dark branch of a desert river

you could flow on without a speck
  of guilt and everything
everywhere would still be just as it should be.

As if your place in the world mattered
  and the world could
neither speak nor hear the fullness of

its own bitter and beautiful cry
  without the deep well
of your body resonating in the echo.

Knowing it takes only
  that first, terrible 
word to make the circle complete,

revelation must be terrible
  knowing you can
never hide your voice again.

David Whyte
River Flow: New and Selected Poems
Photo: Peter Bowers