Revelation Must Be Terrible

by David Whyte

from Fire in the Earth

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

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