All The True Vows - David Whyte

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All the true vows

are secret vows

the ones we speak out loud

are the ones we break.

 

There is only one life

you can call your own

and a thousand others

you can call by any name you want.

 

Hold to the truth you make

every day with your own body,

don’t turn your face away.

 

Hold to your own truth

at the center of the image

you were born with.

 

Those who do not understand

their destiny will never understand

the friends they have made

nor the work they have chosen

 

nor the one life that waits

beyond all the others.

 

By the lake in the wood

in the shadows

you can

whisper that truth

to the quiet reflection

you see in the water.

 

Whatever you hear from

the water, remember,

 

it wants to carry

the sound of its truth on your lips.

 

Remember,

in this place

no one can hear you

 

and out of the silence

you can make a promise

it will kill you to break,

 

that way you’ll find

what is real and what is not.

 

I know what I am saying.

Time almost forsook me

and I looked again.

 

Seeing my reflection

I broke a promise

and spoke

for the first time

after all these years

 

in my own voice,

 

before it was too late

to turn my face again.