Thursday, December 10, 2009

Answer Me Dammit ...

The Invitation

It doesn't interest me what you do for a living.
I want to know what you ache for,
and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart's longing.

It doesn't interest me how old you are.
I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool
for love, for your dreams,
for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn't interest me what planets are squaring your moon.
I want to know if you have touched
the centre of your own sorrow,
if you have been opened by life's betrayals
or have become shrivelled and closed from fear of further pain.

I want to know if you can sit with pain,
mine or your own, without moving to hide it
or fade it or fix it.

I want to know if you can be with joy mine or your own.
if you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy
fill you to the tips of your fingers
and toes without cautioning us
to be careful, be realistic,
remember the limitations of being human.

It doesn't interest me if the story you are telling me is true.
I want to know if you can disappoint another
to be true to yourself.
If you can bear the accusation of betrayal
and not betray your own soul.
If you can be faithless and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see Beauty
even when it is not pretty every day,
and if you can source your own life from its presence.

I want to know if you can live with failure, yours and mine,
and still stand at the edge of the lake
and shout to the silver of the full moon,“Yes.”

It doesn't interest me to know where you live,
or how much money you have.
I want to know if you can get up after the night of grief and despair,
weary and bruised to the bone,
and do what needs to be done to feed the children.

It doesn't interest me who you know
or how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand
in the centre of the fire with me and not shrink back.

It doesn't interest me where or what
or with whom you have studied.
I want to know what sustains you from the inside
when all else falls away.

I want to know if you can be alone with yourself,
and if you truly like the company
you keepin the empty moments.

© Oriah Mountain Dreamer, from the book The Invitation published by HarperSanFrancisco, 1999


Anonymous said...

LOVE this! I found it while preparing for a wedding--and then presented it to my partner as an expression of how I felt about our relationship. Then I heard it read by a Cherokee medicine man during a healing ceremony. And now I find it again here! It always sends shivers up my spine.

desert demons said...

I'm glad you love it - when I grow up, I want to be able to answer YES to all the questions in the poem -

Majestic Elk said...

Wonderful. I love the oxymorons. But why wait to grow up before you answer Yes? Why not answer Yes now and every moment of your life? Elk

Howling Lamb said...

Wow! Fantastic choice of poem, demons. I am tingling in my body, heart and soul!
Howling Lamb

desert demons said...

Hey Elk and Lamb Welcome back to blog land :) The poem is amazing and you're totally right ... WHY WAIT ???? - after all we only own the present !