That Fierce Embrace

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 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
     falling toward
     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, poem called “Self Portrait”, 1992